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Commissioner Hahn urges Europeans to help shape a future EU Urban Agenda

Public consultation is open until 26 September 2014

22 Sep. 2014 | Johannes Hahn, EU Regional Policy Commissioner is asking EU citizens to share their views on an EU Urban Agenda - what form it should take and how it should be put into action. The Commissioner is calling for a wide engagement by stakeholders and city dwellers in a public consultation alongside a formal Communication just published by the European Commission. It follows a growing number of calls for more involvement of cities in the design of EU policies and a greater coherence in the way Europe's institutions tackle urban challenges.
The public consultation is open until 26 September 2014 to consultation) It asks key questions like: Why have an EU urban agenda? How tight a focus should it have? Where can EU action bring most added value? Should cities be involved in policymaking? And if so how?

More than two thirds of Europe’s population live in cities and towns and this share continues to grow. That’s why urban development - economic, social and environmental - is central to the EU’s Regional Policy. An integrated approach that ensures cities excel in these three areas will help to achieve the Europe 2020 strategy of ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’. And urban development that is also sustainable will not only drive the EU’s competitiveness in today’s changing world but also safeguard a high-quality of life for all of Europe’s citizens - both now and in the future.

Background

Among the many who have called for an EU Urban Agenda, are the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee as well as city associations themselves. The Commission organised a CITIES Forum in February this year to pursue the idea.

Under the Greek Presidency, EU Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy called, in April this year, for such an Agenda to be taken forward with input from the local, regional, national and EU levels.

What is integrated sustainable urban development?

Urban development is about the social, economic and physical transformation of cities. These processes combined are considered in the EU’s approach to integrated urban development. That means that everything from the advantages of economic activity, innovation, education and culture to the challenges of urban sprawl, poverty, migration, congestion and beyond, are dealt with cohesively. Integrated problems need integrated solutions. And solutions must be sustainable so that any urban development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Why invest?

Cities are seen as both the source and solution of today’s economic, environmental and social challenges - they are home to 75 % of the EU's population, they account for about 80 % of energy use and they generate about 85 % of Europe's GDP. Therefore, cities are central to achieve the Europe 2020 targets of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth within an increasingly competitive global context.

EU Objectives for 2014-2020

During the 2014-2020 programming period, European cities will benefit even more from the EU’s Regional Policy:

  • Urban areas are directly targeted by several of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment priorities. This means greater opportunity - for sustainable urban mobility, for physical, economic and social regeneration of deprived communities and for improvements in research and innovation capacity.
  • In each EU member state, a minimum 5 % of the ERDF will be invested in integrated sustainable urban development; its on-the-ground deployment will be decided and directed by urban authorities.
  • 330 million Euro will fund innovative actions in the field of sustainable urban development over a seven-year period.
  • An urban development network will review the on-the-ground deployment of European funds as well as support the exchange of experience between cities involved in integrated sustainable urban development and in urban innovative actions.
  • Cities are encouraged to use Community-Led Local Development (CLLD), thus paving the way for greater involvement of local stakeholders from businesses, the public sector and civil society who are central to urban neighbourhood regeneration.
  • Integrated territorial investments may be used to implement area-based strategies that rely on investments across different fields.
  • URBACT, the European cities networking cooperation programme will be more result-oriented and will incorporate the Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities, the toolkit designed to help cities promote and enhance their work on integrated sustainable urban development.
  • The Urban Audit provides annual data on 811 cities in the 28 EU and another 17 cities in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. The annual data covers a limited set of indicators covering demography, labour market, housing, health and crime. For census years, a slightly large data collection is carried out to cover more issues such income disparities and educational qualifications.

 

Further Information

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The following pages are (partly) published only in English. We apologize for any inconvenience.
You are welcome to support us in our efforts to translate the CivilScape web site to different languages.