Urban Agenda for the EU

The Urban Agenda for the EU addresses problems cities are facing by setting up Partnerships between the Commission, EU organisations, national governments, city authorities and other stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations.

Together they develop action plans to:

  • Improve existing regulation with regarding to urban areas and urban challenges
  • Support and improve innovative and user-friendly sources of funding for Urban Areas
  • Share and develop 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 various audiences differently and be hard to implement at local level.  These are difficulties that EU regulation should anticipate.

The Urban Agenda for the EU seeks to help the relevant actors to implement existing policies, laws and instruments more effectively and coherently.

Regarding new EU legislation, the Commission's better regulation agenda 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 it can be difficult because of the many different EU institutions that provide funding, and the various ways they do so.

The Urban Agenda does not create additional EU funding. It 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 type of 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:

These urban themes were set forth in the Pact of Amsterdam, ratified by urban-policy ministers from the EU member countries in May 2016 and in the 2019 Declaration of ministers ‘Towards a common framework for urban development in the European Union’.

The New Leipzig Charter on The transformative power of cities for the common good was adopted at the Informal Ministerial Meeting organised on 30 November 2020 under the German Presidency. It offers a common framework and principles towards sustainable urban development. The New Leipzig Charter is also accompanied by an Implementing document that intends to guide the next phase of the Urban Agenda for the EU according to renewed parameters.