Urban Innovative Actions – meeting in Brussels on January 10th
Last Tuesday, an extraordinary meeting of the URBAN Intergroup took place at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss the state of play of the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA). Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup, opened this extraordinary meeting by reminding participants the origins of this initiative during the preparation of the European Regional Development Fund regulation for 2014-2020. Jean Pierre Legrand, Project Director from the Hauts-de-France region – an “Entrusted Entity” to directly manage the UIA Initiative – underlined long experience of this French Region in management of different European programmes.He explained how the European Commission in partnership with the region lead this initiative granted of €372 Mln.
Judith Torokne Rozsa, Head of Urban Unit at the European Commission, thanked the Hauts-de-France region and the UIA Secretariat based in Lille for an excellent cooperation with the EU executive. She stressed that it is still too early to see if big expectations regarding the UIA are met. Moreover, she pointed out that after the first UIA call, some problems with geographical coverage of the initiative can be seen.
Tim Caulfield, Director of the UIA Secretariat, presented the state of play of the UIA. After presenting the setting up of the UIA Initiative, he described the outcome of the first call of proposals. This call was oriented on 4 topics: Energy transition, Jobs and skills in the local economy, Inclusion of migrants and refugees and Urban poverty. After submission of 378 applications forms from 24 Member States, 18 projects have been selected during a transparent selection process. Moreover, the timeline of the second call for proposal was announced. This call is focusing on 3 topics: Circular economy, Inclusion of migrants and refugees and Urban mobility. It started on December 15th 2016 and will end on April 14th 2017.
During the discussion moderated by Mattijs van Miltenburg, an MEP from the URBAN Intergroup, the good geographical coverage of the initiative was mentioned. The weaknesses in the applications from Eastern European countries are currently analysed but, for the moment, it is too early to think about introducing any quotas. Moreover, capacities of participation of smaller towns were discussed. One proposal consisted in providing grants in the future for technical assistance from national authorities to smaller cities, in order to increase their participation and effectiveness in the future calls of proposals.
More information about Urban Innovative Actions