26 November 2021

EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities

The last event of the URBAN Intergroup on 19 November was dedicated to the presentation of the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities which is one of 5 Horizon Europe missions. This mission will support, promote and showcase 100 European cities in their systemic transformation towards climate neutrality by 2030 and turn these cities into experimentation and innovation hubs for all cities. This will be done through a multi-level and co-creative process formalised in Climate City Contracts, tailored to the specific situation of each city.


Fabienne Keller, Vice-president of the URBAN Intergroup and former mayor of Strasbourg, opened the webinar by recalling that mayors have been working very hard for many years now to reach the target of climate-neutral cities. This is a very ambitious target and the EU should support investments and actions in cities. She stressed that the EUmust help cities to provide better living environment, cleaner air, less congestion and less noise for people.


Professor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Chair of the Mission Board for the Cities Mission and former Mayor of Warsaw, expressed satisfaction that the European Commission has adopted the Mission Board concept and largely implemented it. She explained the difference between previous EU-funded projects for the cities and this mission by  underlining that the mission is not sectoral but an overarching, holistic and innovative strategy. This “Cities’ Mission” will also focus on delivering greater synergies and complementarities with other EU programs whilst helping cities to deliver on the twin objectives of the Mission: to achieve climate neutrality in 100 European smart cities until 2030; to disseminate this programme. She underlined the importance of pulling different resources and innovative solutions in order to achieve the goals.


Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director General of DG MOVE, manager of the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, emphasised that the European Green Deal has to be Green but also a Deal. “To make it happen, it should be done for and with citizens – and this is the approach as well in the Cities’ Mission”, he said. After COP26, we start globally to move from negotiation into implementation and the Cities’ Mission might be vital as a micro action to implement the macro objectives of the European Green Deal and the EU global ambition. 75% of Europeans live in cities and it is where the European Green Deal set at EU and national level, will be implemented. The local level is where policy meets people.


20 October 2021

Improving legislation on short-term rental platforms for a better cohabitation

Short-term rental platforms and their impact on the real estate sector and cities in Europe was the topic of the last online seminar co-organised by the URBAN Intergroup and the European Association of Real Estate Professions (CEPI), which is also one of the Intergroup’s official partners.


Jan Olbrycht, President of the URBAN Intergroup, opened the seminar by welcoming the discussion and clarified the importance of the phenomenon of short-term rental platforms and its impact on tourism, housing and the real estate sector in general, as well as on urban developments in European cities.


Elisabeth Rohr -de Wolf, CEPI Secretary-General, underlined that the European Association of Real Estate Professions (CEPI) was happy to co-organise this session on short-term rental platforms (STRs) together with the URBAN Intergroup as it brought together many of the key players involved in the field enabling all to discuss the different challenges and opportunities surrounding STRs. In her opening address, Elisabeth Rohr -de Wolf, underlined that CEPI does not intend to promote a pro/anti narrative in this field. She suggested the need for a better understanding of this relatively new ecosystem, highlighting the requirement to study its potential in the sharing economy, as well as ensuring that appropriate regulation remains in place for the benefit of all. The ultimate aim, she concluded, is not to discriminate against alternative business models but to ensure a level playing field for all involved parties.



During the first panel discussion, Federico Ranuzzi de’ Bianchi, CEPI Vice-President (FIAIP, Italy), recalled that the short-term rental system is not only proposed by big online platforms but by real estate agencies as well. This type of rentals, in fact, is not only destined to tourists but it is also relevant for mobile workers and students. Luis de Prado, CEPI Vice-President (CGCAFE, Spain), underlined the need for reflection on how real estate and property management agencies on one side, and online short-term rental platforms on the other, could beneficially co-exist on the market. He emphasised that platforms should encourage their customers to respect rules concerning the quality of life of inhabitants and that more control of customers’ inappropriate behaviours should be put in place in order to avoid potential conflicts in the buildings. He called for a better organisation of this section of the rental market in order to find the best ways of coexistence between different operators.


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