The urban dimension of EU policies – key features of an EU Urban Agenda
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Europe continues to be faced with challenges related to the economy, the climate, the environment, and society at large. Most of these challenges have a strong urban dimension; they either manifest themselves mainly in and around cities - e.g., poverty, social and spatial segregation; environmental degradation - or find their solutions in and through cities – e.g.; resource efficiency and CO2 neutral economy; economic development and innovation; social innovation and integration.
Although cities’ role for economic, social and cultural development, and their potential for a more resource efficient habitat, have long been recognised, the policy response at European and national level has been slow and piecemeal, with many but poorly integrated sectoral initiatives. A growing number of voices argue that cities need to be adequately involved in the conception and implementation of EU policies, and that EU policies need to be better adapted to the urban realities where they will be implemented.
This is expressed by calls for an EU urban agenda coming from a range of stakeholders at the EU, national and local level. As a response to these calls the European Commission organised a CITIES Forum to initiate a debate on the need for an EU urban agenda.