Metropolitan Vision for Europe 2050 – last event
A Metropolitan Vision for Europe 2050. Resilient urban and rural transformation for a climate neutral future was the topic of the last event co-organised on January 21st by the URBAN Intergroup and METREX (Network of European Metropolitan Regions and Areas).
Jakub Mazur, METREX President and deputy Mayor of Wrocław in Poland, opened the event by underlying why the Metropolitan Vision for Europe 2050 is needed. He recalled that at the European Metropolitan Authorities (EMA) conference in Porto, last November, Elisa Ferreira, EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, called upon metropolitan regions and cities to come forward with proposals to address the urgent challenge of establishing a resilient and climate neutral Europe by 2050. The URBAN Intergroup of the European Parliament is an important partner to help shape this vision. Fabienne Keller, Vice-President of the URBAN Intergroup, recalled different challenges that are currently in front of the urban areas. She stressed that the level of metropolis and cities is the most efficient one to achieve ambitious climate objectives.
Henk Bouwman, Secretary General of METREX, recalled that during EU Week of Regions, METREX members started the discussion about existing examples of metropolitan projects which testimony climate adaptation. To further showcase the important role of metropolitan regions and cities, METREX has taken the initiative to answer Commission Ferreira’s call by proposing a common Metropolitan Vision for Europe 2050, including investment propositions, together with all relevant stakeholders in the field.
In her video address, Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki, stressed that Helsinki wants to be one of the front-runner cities in providing solutions to the fight against climate change. Decarbonisation of the heating system is the major concern as half of the city’s emissions is generated by heating. Helsinki looks at the existing solutions implemented in other cities. That is why the cooperation between cities is very important and international networks are very helpful in exchanging best practices.
Thomas Kiwitt, Planning Director, presented examples of projects implemented at the metropolitan level of Stuttgart Region. Hydrogen strategy and better accessibility and mobility were one of the several examples that climate goals cannot be achieved with isolated approaches. Cities are not an island and they need to cooperate with their surroundings. That is why metropolitan areas are the appropriate level to tackle challenges.
Towards a Metropolitan Vision for Europe 2050: Gamechangers for green, just, productive Regions – Examples from Stuttgart Region / Germany
Presentation of the Ljubljana Agreement
The most recent online meeting of the URBAN Intergroup was devoted to a discussion on the newly adopted Ljubljana Agreement. This Agreement and its Multiannual Working Program for the Urban Agenda for the EU were approved by EU Ministers responsible for Urban Matters on the 26th of November 2021. Both documents declare support for continuation and further development of the Urban Agenda for the EU, as well as introduces new approaches and emphasises the role of small and medium sized cities.
Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup, opened the meeting by briefly introducing to the audience the new agreement and reminded them about the previous intergovernmental documents which focus on urban issues such as the Leipzig Charter (2007), the Riga Declaration (2015), the Pact of Amsterdam (2016), the Bucharest Declaration (2019) and the New Leipzig Charter (2020).
Next to speak was Vlad-Marius Botoș, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the REGI committee. He underlined that promoting the urban dimension of cohesion policy, which is one of the committee’s core competences, is high up on list of committee priorities. He explained the importance of urban areas and their fight to overcome growing and complex challenges, such us their recent fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In his opinion, the current focus should be directed at measures that might be taken to help the cities, considering their struggles caused by the fight with the virus. “The European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development is committed to enhancing the impact of the Urban Agenda at Union level and welcomes the Ljubljana Agreement”, he added.
Asa Rogelj, Deputy Director General at the Ministry of the environment and spatial planning, representing the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, explained the current Council priorities such as continuation of the Territorial Agenda 2030 implementation. She focused on expanding the path that led to the agreement, its structure and content. The Ljubljana Agreement is a ministerial statement of support for continuation and further development of Urban Agenda for the EU. The document introduces new approaches for strengthening UAEU and emphasises the role of small and medium sized cities. The Multiannual Working Programme for the Urban Agenda for the EU – the Next Generation is an operational framework for the cooperation in 2021 – 2026. She also presented the audience with the roadmap of planned future priorities that the European Union will focus on, leading to new partnerships and final revision of the Multiannual Working Programme for the UAEU. 4 new themes will be added to the list of existing 14 UAEU priority themes: Cities of Equality, Food, Greening Cities, Sustainable Tourism. During 2022, partnership on Greening Cities and Sustainable Tourism will be set up.