Cohesion Policy, with its strategic, integrated and place-based approaches that takes into account different territorial contexts, is of high interest to many international partners. The priority attached to sustainable development in the programmes and the governance model, including conditionalities, make Cohesion Policy a showcase for regional and urban policies and provide corresponding investment inspiration in many corners on the globe.
The Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy contributes to the strategic objectives and priorities of the Commission and the EU in the field of external relations (namely “A stronger Europe in the World”) by strengthening its role through policy dialogues and cooperation with EU strategic partners, enlargement (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, IPA) and neighbouring countries.
The work seeks, specifically, to pool international policy experience for the benefit of policy makers, including from regions and cities on both sides; provide EU regions and cities with networking opportunities to engage in broader cooperation with regions and cities worldwide; promote the international image and reputation of the EU; generate new commercial opportunities for the EU public and private sector; project the EU model of regional and urban development based on key principles such as: working with the market (competition rules, public procurement); equal opportunities; sustainable development; participative democracy.
Cooperation projects and initiatives
Through the International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme, which constitutes the second phase of the successful International Urban Cooperation programme (IUC), DG REGIO contributes to attaining the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals and implementing the UN New Urban Agenda (NUA) at the subnational level by thematically pairing EU and non-EU cities and regions and promoting cooperation and knowledge exchange and capitalisation between EU and non-EU cities and regions on specific EU priorities.
The pilot project “International City Partnerships-Acting for Green and Inclusive Recovery (ICP-AGIR)” and the (URBELAC) network further contribute to the Urban Agenda for the EU and to the UN New Urban Agenda by promoting cooperation between EU and non-EU cities on the themes of inclusion of migrants and refugees, circular economy, energy transition and air quality.
Regional Policy Dialogues
Since 2006, the Commission, DG REGIO, has concluded formal agreements on regional policy cooperation with 14 countries, including with EU strategic partners (Brazil, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia), Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and the Central American Integration System –SICA-) and Eastern Partnership Countries (Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine).