Conference of the Mayors of the 27 EU capital cities: round table and introduction remarks by Johannes Hahn
Type: Complete speech
End production: 28/02/2013 First transmission: 28/02/2013
On 28 February 2012, Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy, hosted the first direct talks between the European Commission and the EU's capital cities.The meeting brought together 20 mayors from capital cities. It aimed to promote a regular dialogue between the capitals and the European Commission and to mobilize them as key European actors in fulfilling the goals of the Europe2020 Agenda for Growth.
This video shows round table and introduction remarks by Johannes Hahn.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of participants
||Statement by Johannes Hahn, Member of the EC in charge of Regional Policy (in English) thanking the audience to honour him with their presence.
||Statement by Johannes Hahn (in German) explaining that representatives of urban areas have expressed a growing interest in the project of direct collaboration with the European Commission; saying that the name of "Directorate General for Regional Policy" was changed into "DG for Regional and Urban Policy", already in the past and up until now the Director-General, Walter Deffaa, has been responsible for coordination of urban matters and many among the DGs are dealing with issues concerning urban areas; saying that it is a pity he barely managed to gather all the members of the audience only now as he would have liked to organize this conference at a much earlier stage when they were negotiating the future financing of the EU; saying that they have had many discussions on the multilateral financial framework and those discussions are still ongoing but a decision has been taken by the Heads of States or Governments, there will still be a discussion on this subject in the EP, but he wants to say that the basic framework has now been set, there will be adaptation but the significant framework have now been set and he would have liked to discuss this with urban representatives at an earlier stage; saying that in terms of regional policy they have tried to put particular emphasis on urban policy and also in terms of regulatory activity, and did reach some degree of success at the end of discussions although he would be critical to the extent that allocations and concessions to the urban area were slightly weakened in the course of those negotiations, and for all of those reasons he thought that it would be a good idea to convene a meeting of the Mayors of the capital cities because during the time he has been in office for three years he has realized that the Mayors' views have a particular political weight when they speak up on any given issue; saying that conversely he has observed that rather nicer would be if the Mayors could speak up more often and certainly when it comes to urban interests and representation of those interests; saying that they, at the European level, have a number of structural funds which are there to finance activities in the Member States and he thinks that it is important to say that the fund for regional development already today disburses 40% of its budget for urban areas but he is not sure whether the allocation for capital cities is already in line with population statistics because there is a definition which states that as of 5000 inhabitants something is defined as a city and as they have many major cities in Europe, based on his own observations and the analysis of his staff, when it comes on allocation of funds, capital cities do not always get a fair deal by the Member States; saying that, looking at today's meeting, he would like it to be an opportunity to have a getting-to-know session with the Mayors out of which what possible forms of cooperation and exchange of views could be; saying that the EU and in particular his DG are sorts of service providers and they really want to help and assist the Mayors and bring people together; saying that they do not have an axe to grind and do not want to lay down the law or anything like that, they simply want the capital cities which are really poor and thus as pioneers should play their role; saying that they have the Europe 20-20 growth strategy and within that strategy they have a number of very important targets which have been set at the European level and these must then be broken down in terms of national and regional targets such as combating poverty, dealing with unemployment, increasing funding devoted to R&D, ensuring better education and training, and increasing the share of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, all of these are issues which should, if possible, be tackled, in particular in larger cities and in particular in European capital cities, they must be implemented there; saying that as he was saying outside, Mayors are people who are very practical down to people and this is only practical as they have to find solution to the practical problems of their fellow citizens on a daily basis and from their point of view, the most relevant thing here is that they need to try to ensure that the European growth strategy 20-20 can be implemented successfully, and the only way they can do that is if Mayors can set a good example and forge ahead; saying that there was some discussion in advance of the present meeting on a joint declaration and he can inform that all 28 Mayors (including the Mayor of Zagreb, Croatia and including those who were not able to be here in person today) have expressed their support for the statement, it is a very good starting point for discussion; saying that he thinks it is extremely important for capital cities to get involved when it comes to implementing the overall European strategy.
||Cutaway (2 shots)