URBAN Intergroup meeting in Strasbourg – June 11th
On Thursday, June 11th the URBAN Intergroup held its monthly meeting in Strasbourg. This month participants discussed the outcomes of the two-day Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Territorial Cohesion and Urban Matters which took place in Riga on Tuesday and Wednesday (9-10th June).
Discussions focused on the Riga Declaration “Towards the EU Urban Agenda” adopted yesterday. Participants wondered what it will bring about and what will be its actual impact on shaping of the EU Urban agenda. The European Parliament’s position on the topic of the EU Urban agenda was also raised and discussed vividly.
More information about the Informal Meeting and media coverage can be found on the webpage of the Latvian Presidency.
2nd Cities Forum in Brussels
On June 2nd, the European Commission organised the 2nd Cities Forum – an event dedicated to cities and urban matters.
Last year’s Forum was an occasion to open a dialogue with representatives of cities, politicians and stakeholders on the future of European cities. Announcement of Commission’s intention to create a so called EU Urban Agenda, which should be a foundation for a common urban policy, resulted from these debates. In July 2014, the EC launched a public consultation on the EU Urban Agenda, giving all actors a possibility to share their views.
This year’s CITIES Forum was aimed at unveiling results of public consultation and making a step forward towards an integrated approach to urban policy. The Commission proposed a four-step approach towards the EU Urban Agenda:
1 – Focusing on specific priorities able to deliver and show results, such as smart cities; in particular when it comes to the low-carbon economy, climate-resilient cities and social inclusion.
2 – Applying better regulation tools effectively, with reinforced urban impact assessment and stronger stakeholder involvement.
3 – Better coherence and coordination of EU policies relating to cities, such as the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities (EIP-SCC), the Urban Innovative Actions or the European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate ADAPT); assessing, revisiting, simplifying, streamlining and better focusing existing initiatives, making them more user-friendly, more efficient and with more synergies between them.
4 – Improved urban intelligence, benchmarking and monitoring: this means developing new data while also continuing to consolidate and harmonise the knowledge base of existing data sources, making them more complementary and more readily available.
Jan Olbrycht, president of the URBAN Intergroup participated in a high level panel on “who should do what for the EU Urban Agenda?” discussing the role of different actors in shaping and implementing the future agenda.
“Cooperation between all levels of governance is the key element. An integrated approach and multi-level governance are the only ways to develop guidelines and priorities for cities that will be beneficial to all” argued Jan Olbrycht.
He underlined that most of European cities need a strong common approach to urban policy.
“Cities do not need a simple regulation. Cities need priorities on which they could focus their activities” he added.
The event was also a perfect opportunity to present a pilot project “Urban Innovative Actions” which aims at testing innovative solutions to key urban challenges. Total allocated budget for 2015-2017 period is 371mln Euro. The ERDF contribution per project can be of maximum 5mln Euro and the maximum duration per project is of 3 years. French Nord-Pas-de-Calais region will be coordinating and managing projects.