European Capitals give their approval to the European Urban Agenda
On 21 April 2016, the mayors of the capitals of the EU member states convened in the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam for the 5th edition of the EU Capitals Mayors’ Meeting. During this meeting, they discussed the priorities of the Dutch presidency of the European Union (EU). The meeting resulted in a Declaration, in which the concrete views of the European capitals with respect to the European Urban Agenda are expressed.
Experiences, dilemmas and solutions
The meeting was primarily focused on the mutual cooperation between the various European capitals as well as the cooperation between cities and the EU. This cooperation was discussed on the basis of four issues of topical interest, which partly coincide with the current partnerships, namely:
- mobility and air quality;
- affordable housing;
- tackling radicalization; and
- the integration of refugees.
The European capitals exchanged experiences and discussed dilemmas and solutions for the various problems that the inhabitants of the various European cities currently have to deal with. Moreover, they discussed these issues with Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy.
The Declaration by the Mayors of the EU Capital Cities specifically deals with the European Urban Agenda. The mayors of the EU capitals state that they fully agree with the list of the twelve priority themes and that they will actively support the establishment and execution of the partnerships. In addition, they make concrete recommendations for the four partnerships that have already been launched. These recommendations may e.g. concern the fact that the European Commission should give priority to making additional funds available, as well as more integration of European policy.
Newly proposed priorities
Furthermore, they also propose to include some other topics in the priorities for the coming period. In addition to the four existing partnerships – the partnerships regarding air quality, affordable housing, urban poverty and integration of migrants and refugees –, they would like to prioritise:
- the need for growth, jobs and skills;
- improving urban mobility;
- the transition towards a circular economy; and
- the use of (open) data and technology for purposes of developing smart cities.
With respect to the refugee crisis, the mayors state that they will go to great efforts to provide shelter and care for refugees. Nonetheless, they urgently call upon the EU to make additional funds directly available at local level for the reception of refugees.
Petra Werkman and Femke Salverda, Europa decentraal