Last event on the EU´s Affordable Housing Initiative
The URBAN Intergroup had a pleasure to co-organise with the Housing Partnership of the Urban Agenda for the EU an online seminar on “the Affordable Housing Initiative – Co-creation of liveable neighbourhoods with cities and citizens” on Friday, September 17th.
In his introductory speech, Andreas Schieder, Vice-president of the URBAN Intergroup, underlined that affordable housing has become a pressing issue. More and more people are searching for an affordable place to live and accommodation is more and more expensive: that is why the EU, national and local policies can contribute to find solutions to tackle holistically housing issues. Exchanging new solutions and ideas is key.
As former coordinator of the Housing Partnership, Michaela Kauer, Director of the Brussels Office of the City of Vienna, set the scene of housing in Europe and presented findings of the UAEU Partnership, which was conducted between 2015 and 2018. She highlighted that the support of the European Parliament and the URBAN Intergroup was key to set up the whole EU Urban Agenda process. Moreover, she reminded how partners advocated since 2019 the promotion and implementation of the Partnership’s policy recommendations for better regulation, better funding and better knowledge.
Elena Szolgayová, former coordinator of the Partnership from the Slovak Ministry for Construction and Co-Chair of the Housing 2030 project, presented the joint initiative of UNECE (The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), UN-Habitat and Housing Europe with a focus on affordable and social housing and housing finances. “Housing 2030” works in 4 fields such as housing governance and regulation (including measuring housing affordability), access to finance and funding, access and availability of land for housing construction and climate-neutral housing construction and renovation. She summarised findings of “Housing 2030” project and announced upcoming launch of the final report.
Housing challenges in the EU – Presentation of Michaela Kauer, coordinators of the UAEU Housing Partnership 2015-2018, and Elena Szolgayová, Co-Chair of the Housing 2030 project
The European Responsible Housing Initiative – Presentation of Barbara Steenbergen, Director of Brussels Office of the International Union of Tenants
National Recovery & Resilience Plans – What is at stake for local and regional authorities?
The last event of the URBAN Intergroup, which took place on May 21st, was dedicated to the National Recovery & Resilience Plans. In his introductory remarks, Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup, underlined that the idea of this meeting was to discuss what is at stake for local and regional authorities in the preparation and implementation of those plans.
Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General of EUROCITIES, presented an idea of having a structural dialogue with local and regional authorities and the European Commission especially in the monitoring face of the Recovery and Resilience Instrument. This dialogue would allow to check how investments go in line with EU priorities, partnership and subsidiarity principles. Moreover, in the context of mid-term review of NRR Plans, an idea to establish a city driven pan European project with strong added value was mentioned.
Fréderic Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR, welcomed the idea of having a structured dialogue. He pointed out that national recovery will be efficient if local and regional authorities are involved in the design and the implementation of recovery plans. He presented as well the outcome of a join study made with the Committee of the Regions which shows that consultation process was not organised correctly in all Member States and the involvement of local and regional governments was sufficient.
Eleni Marianou, Secretary General of CPMR, called as well to associate representatives of local and regional authorities to the ongoing structural dialogue between the Commission and the European Parliament. She pointed out that the need of complementarity between different instruments and funds willing to boost investment and recovery. The lack of strategic articulation between the investments to be founded via the RRF and cohesion policy funds 21-27 could jeopardize the capacity for regional authorities to best programme cohesion policy and contribute to investment priorities.
EU Research and Innovation for Cities of the Future
The joint event organised by the URBAN Intergroup and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) on “EU Research and Innovation for Cities of the Future” took place on Thursday afternoon 21st of March 2019 at the EP in Brussels.
This big event showed how EU Research and Innovation actions are driving sustainable urban development to address major urban challenges. The objectives of the event were to present the main highlights of the draft High-Level Expert Group report on “Innovating Cities” and to invite participants for comments. Moreover, the participants got the possibility to learn more about the substantial contribution of EU funded Research and Innovation projects /initiatives /actions to knowledge-base and innovative solutions for sustainable cities.
The joint event mobilised R&I communities, members of the European Parliament, city leaders and policy makers, academia, the private sector, industrials, innovation firms, NGOs, the civil society, European institutions and UN agencies representatives.
Funding for energy renovation as a stimulus for urban regeneration- last event in Brussels
The URBAN Intergroup and Renovate Europe organized a joint event on the topic Funding for Energy Renovation as a Stimulus for Urban Regeneration on Tuesday 26th September. The event was held in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, due to be voted in the EP early October, and sought to draw a link with available funding and opportunities to help Member States implement buildings-related legislation, through the Juncker Fund, the EIB and the current and possibly the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework, but also raising awareness about successful local initiatives.
“Energy renovation projects in urban areas is like inviting a whole city to go on an Easter egg hunt, to uncover the hidden treasures and multiple benefits that can be unlocked”, said Claire Roumet, Executive Director of Energy Cities. “Energy renovation can completely change the metabolism of a city – the positive impacts can be so significant that it can lead to a complete urban transformation, at all levels.”
MEP Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup, acknowledged the key role of energy renovation as an opportunity to roll-out a comprehensive urban strategy with the aim of tackling energy poverty, boosting social cohesion and triggering local jobs. But MEP Olbrycht was also keen to emphasise the need that urban regeneration be an inclusive process which preserves the patrimonial heritage and improves the quality of living for all residents involved.
“Energy renovation can and must serve as entry point to engage the local community to interact on a common discussion that goes wider than just buildings and housing, to improve quality of life for all”, agreed Claire Roumet.
The redistributional value of targeted renovations is well-known, delivering undeniable benefits to lower income groups through lower energy bills and improved living standards. But this urban regeneration also occurs in skyscraper-filled business quartiers needing a much-needed human touch, or high density residential areas thirsty for more green spaces or community facilities.
New URBAN newsltter
We are very pleased to present you the URBAN Intergroup 21st Newsletter in which you will find more information about the breakfast meeting with coordinators of 12 partnerships of the URBAN Agenda.
In this issue you can read as well about other recent meetings and events organised by the URBAN Intergroup.
Enjoy your reading.