Urban agenda for the EU

The urban agenda for the EU addresses problems facing cities by setting up partnerships between the EU, national governments, local authorities and stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations.

Together they develop action plans to:

  • pass better laws
  • improve funding programmes
  • share knowledge (data, studies, good practices)

Better regulation

EU laws are often implemented in cities, with direct and indirect implications for city governments. But legislation can impact different audiences differently and be hard to implement at local level. These are difficulties that EU regulation should anticipate.

The urban agenda seeks to help the relevant actors implement existing policies, laws and instruments more effectively and coherently.

Regarding new EU legislation, the Commission's better regulation programme ensures that it achieves its objectives at minimum cost without imposing unnecessary administrative burdens on the businesses and other organisations affected.

Better funding

Urban authorities are among the key beneficiaries of public funding. But obtaining that funding can be difficult because of the many different EU institutions that provide funding, and the many different ways they do so.

The urban agenda seeks to improve the quality of funding sources and make it easier for city governments to access them.

The urban agenda does not create additional EU funding, but draws on lessons learned in order to make it easier for city governments to apply for funding from all EU programmes, including those falling under cohesion policy.

Better knowledge

Success stories and other knowledge about how cities evolve need to be put to better use and shared more widely.

From one city to another, the responsibilities of the authorities and the related administrative structures can vary greatly. Reliable data are important to ensure that urban policy is based on evidence and that tailor-made solutions to major challenges can be found.

The urban agenda for the EU will help build up an urban-policy knowledge base and promote the exchange of good practices. All related initiatives will comply with EU legislation on data protection and reuse of public-sector information as well as promote the use of big, linked and open data.

Priority themes

The urban agenda's priority themes for cities are:

  • jobs and skills in the local economy
  • urban poverty
  • housing
  • inclusion of migrants and refugees
  • sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions
  • circular economy
  • climate adaptation
  • culture
  • energy transition
  • urban mobility
  • air quality
  • digital transition
  • innovative and responsible public procurement

These themes were set forth in the Pact of Amsterdam, ratified by urban-policy ministers from the EU member countries in May 2016