Declaration from all EU capital city mayors: Launch of new dialogue with EC on Europe's recovery : EU Capital Cities – essential partners for Europe 2020
Capital cities play a crucial role in the well-being of the EU and its Member States. Europe's capital cities are not only a major part of the EU's image abroad, its cultural identity and attractiveness, but powerful motors for competitiveness, employment and innovation. At the same time they have a concentration of Europe's problems, including increasing social and economic disparities. Capital cities are the laboratories where solutions to the EU's social and economic problems must be found.
We the Mayors of EU capital cities therefore welcome the initiative of the European Commission to open a direct dialogue with the capital cities and to give our cities a higher profile as direct partners for the EU. The objectives of Europe 2020 cannot be achieved without our active involvement. Capital cities are drivers of innovation and smart growth, and often provide the core for education and scientific networks. Capital cities are indispensable to sustainable growth since their transport, energy and environmental policies have a decisive impact. Our capital cities are at the heart of efforts for inclusive growth: as centres of social, cultural and ethnic diversity.
We will continue to play our part in promoting competitiveness, sustainable growth, innovation and inclusiveness, to overcome the current economic, financial and social crisis.
In the light of current discussions on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, the new Structural and Investment funds Regulations and other EU programmes, we believe:
- Urban challenges have to be addressed in an integrated way, tackling the economic, environmental, social, cultural and demographic dimensions together. We therefore welcome the European Commission's commitment to an integrated approach.
- Future EU policies and actions in the fields of transport, environment, energy, enterprise, employment, research climate action, tackling poverty and social exclusion and the digital agenda, should bear in mind the urban dimension. Improved co-ordination of urban issues to be conducted by the DG for Regional and Urban Policy is important and we will follow this closely.
- Concerning the legislative package on Cohesion Policy, we welcome the Commission's willingness to test new ideas and ways of working through the proposed urban innovative actions.
- We believe that the Commission's proposals for greater delegation of management to cities, including the management of EU Structural Funds, are vital to ensure urban challenges are well understood and implementation matches real needs.
- The priority topics targeted by the draft regulations (energy efficiency, renewable energies, youth unemployment, innovation and SMEs competitiveness) are strategic issues for our cities. We welcome new opportunities to address these in an integrated way and trust that the Commission will implement the new legislation in a spirit of flexibility respecting local specificities.
- We look forward to a continuing dialogue with the European Commission.