Cities get their say
With the adoption of the Pact of Amsterdam last month, European cities will enjoy more influence over EU urban policy, access to financing, and knowledge sharing than ever before.
On 30 May, 28 EU ministers in charge of urban development met in Amsterdam to adopt the Pact of Amsterdam, a document three years in the making, which sets out the principles of a new Urban Agenda for the EU. The pact’s adoption comes at the tail end of the Dutch Presidency of the EU, which has made urban issues a centerpiece of its work programme.
At the heart of the Urban Agenda for the EU is the development of 12 partnerships on 12 urban challenges. The partnerships will allow cities, Member States, EU Institutions and stakeholders, such as NGOs and business partners, to work together on an equal basis to find common ways to improve urban areas in the European Union.
In line with the Commission's commitment to Better Regulation, action plans designed by the partnerships will focus on a more effective and coherent implementation of existing EU policies in cities in the fields of environment, transport and employment, for example. It will also focus on easing access to EU funding, promoting combinations of EU funds and enhancing the knowledge base regarding urban matters and the exchange of best practices.
Four pilot partnerships have already started: on the inclusion of migrants, coordinated by the city of Amsterdam; on air quality, coordinated by the Netherlands; on housing, coordinated by Slovakia; and on urban poverty, coordinated by Belgium and France. The remaining partnerships will be launched between the end of 2016 and the summer of 2017.