5 September 2018

A Europe closer to citizens? The Urban and Territorial Dimension of Cohesion Policy post-2020

The URBAN Intergroup together with EUROCITIES and CEMR hosted an event on the urban and territorial dimension of cohesion policy post-2020 on Tuesday, 4th of September 2018. The meeting was organised with regard to the current negotiations of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 and was designed in two main panels. The first one discussed possible ways of the new cohesion policy framework that would stimulate a truly integrated, place-based development. The latter reflected on improving the delivery of sustainable development strategies within the urban dimension of post-2020 cohesion policy.

The President of URBAN Intergroup, Jan Olbrycht opened the meeting by stating: Today we will not discuss technicalities but the way we make policy. Later, he emphasised the main objective: to build Europe, through cohesion policy that is closer to its citizens.

The European Commission representative (DG REGIO) shared a view of a simplified and feasible cohesion policy that would be adaptable to the needs of key beneficiaries.

The Secretary General of EUROCITIES Anna Lisa Boni stated: We want to deliver faster and better results from cohesion policy for the people.

Similarly, Lambert van Nistelrooij, vice-president of the URBAN Intergroup, drew attention to the need of decreasing the gap between citizens living in different parts of Europe and creating an optimised strategy for the regions through cohesion policy.

Further debate pondered some benefits as well as risks of empowering local institutions in executing the objectives going in line with the cohesion policy and distributing the funds available. CEMR representatives suggested the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as guidelines for the implementation of cohesion policy by regional authorities. Similarly, several challenges have been highlighted on the urban-rural dimension, as well as the need for cross-border cooperation in relation to the cohesion policy.

In his concluding remarks, Jan Olbrycht stressed the importance of attracting a wider audience to the debate on cohesion policy for more effective results. He added that in order to establish a successful framework, European institutions should use clearer language understandable for citizens.

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