URBAN and CEMR’s working breakfast
The main purpose of this meeting was to stimulate the discussion among MEPs and local authorities and politicians on the future EU Urban Agenda and to draw an outline of such an Agenda, making the link to EU policies and programmes, including cohesion policy, and outlining what local authorities need from the EU to ensure successful delivery of policies on the ground.
“We, Members of the European Parliament active in the URBAN Intergroup, are very happy to notice the growing interest in creating a European urban policy. After many years of discussions about the urban dimension of different European policies, we welcome with satisfaction the on-going reflection by the Commission on what an Urban Agenda should address and how it should be implemented. The question whether it is needed at all, seems to be answered with one voice: yes. The CITIES conference that finished just yesterday showed it clearly, but it also unveiled the different approaches to what an Urban Agenda should be and how it should be shaped. The definition and stimulating the common understanding of it in Europe in the first step for the Commission now.” said during the meeting Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup.
The working breakfast was jointly organised with the Council if European Municipalities and Regions, one of the partners of the URBAN Intergroup.
Urban Forum “CiTIEs: Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe”
On February 17-18th, the European Commission organised a series of events under the title of “CiTIEs: Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe”. URBAN Intergroup’s president, Jan Olbrycht and member Cristina Gutierrez-Cortines took active part in a two-day long conference in Brussels.
On the path to establish an integrated Urban Agenda for the EU, European Commission hosted a forum gathering key players in the urban policy to discuss the subject. Under the Commission’s proposal, the Agenda should focus on the role of cities in building more cohesion throughout an integrated policy.
Nowadays, more than two thirds of EU citizens live in urban areas. The EC is not having a solid urban policy, however. Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe corresponds also to a title of the EC report published in late 2013 and presenting the state of play of European urban approach.
On Monday 17th February, Jan Olbrycht, took part in the plenary session dedicated to the presentation of the Issues Paper on the EU Urban Agenda. In his closing statement he underlined the symbolic change of name of the Directorate-General for Regional Policy (DG REGIO) and welcomed the addition of “Urban Policy”. “It shows that the European Commission changed the way of thinking about EU cities and in consequence EC will tackle not only regional but also urban policy”- he said.
Cristina Gutierrez-Cortines, member of the URBAN Intergroup, was a panellist in workshop on the Urban Dimension of Smart Growth, on Tuesday 18th.