Towards a EU urban agenda
Early June, the EU Commissioner responsible for regional policy Corina Cretu and European Ministers responsible for territorial cohesion and urban matters called for an EU Urban Agenda to improve the coherence of EU action towards local authorities.
The Cities Forum 2015
On 2 June 2015, the European Commission organised the Cities Forum 2015 to present its new Staff Working Document based on the results of the 2014 public consultation on the key features of an EU Urban Agenda.
The Commission Staff Working Document “Results of the public consultation on the key features of an EU Urban Agenda” summarizes the views from stakeholders across Europe on why we need an EU urban agenda, what it should contain, how it should operate and what the roles of different actors from local to EU level should be. Commissioner Corina Cretu then officially announced the upcoming launch of such EU Agenda, underlined its importance in the implementation of the Europe2020 Strategy on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The EU Urban Agenda won’t be a legislative initiative, she added, but rather a framework to improve and coordinate existing initiatives, collect and monitor data on impact, and address bottlenecks.
The forum also saw the official launch of the Urban Innovative Actions, an EU initiative to support innovative approaches to tackle future urban challenges in cities across Europe.
The Riga Declaration
On 10 June 2015, in Riga (Latvia), upon the invitation by the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a session of the Informal Meeting of Ministers responsible for territorial cohesion and urban matters was held.
European Ministers recalled that cities and towns play a significant role in territorial development of the EU, also in achieving the EU 2020 objectives, due to the concentration of people, services, dwellings, economic activity and transport nodes, but are facing different challenges which require purposeful and coordinated action at all governance levels.
They therefore underlined the need to set up the right framework within which European urban areas can tackle urban challenges and unlock their growth potential and proposed in that regard to develop an Urban Agenda at EU level. Such Agenda will aim at leading towards better policies for urban areas, more coordinated and effective measures in support of sustainable development, better participation and contribution of urban areas in achieving common EU goals, exchange of knowledge and increase learning.
The Riga Declaration now provides the political support for the development of the EU Urban Agenda. According to Ministers, such Agenda will have to notably seek to ensure a good quality of living and working environment for citizens, share good practices in tackling urban challenges and jointly build capacity, and invite local and regional authorities to consider joining the EU level initiatives covering essential urban challenges.
Read more on the Riga Declaration here.