There are many individual initiatives in the field of urban policy at the European level but no real comprehensive strategy or agenda yet at the EU level for the years to come, notably in view of the absence of direct reference to urban policy in the EU treaties. The political objective is therefore to shape this future EU urban agenda until 2020 and beyond, and to place the urban dimension higher in the overall national and EU (sectorial) agendas in order to foster an integrated approach at all levels of governance. Member States have started working on a "Joint Urban Agenda" at the intergovernmental level, following past initiatives such as the Leipzig Charter or Toledo declaration. At the same time, the European Commission has announced its intention to work on a future EU urban agenda and will in this context organise an EU Urban Forum on 17-18 February 2014 , which will consist in a clusters of events and be prepared by an issues paper. These initiatives may furthermore feed into the preparation of the UN HABITAT III conference, as well as into other strategy initiatives at EU level. It is therefore paramount that local authorities express their views on the issues at stake at an early stage of the process. A first exchange of views will take place in the COTER commission on 17 December 2013. The draft opinion will then be discussed and adopted in the COTER commission respectively on 19 February (1st discussion) and 5 May (2nd discussion and adoption) 2014. It will subsequently be submitted for adoption to the CoR plenary session on 25-26 June 2014. Approximately one half of the world's total population live in urban areas, but in Europe this figure is closer to 70%. Current trends suggest that by 2030, the urban population will reach 375 million, or 75% of the total EU population. Around 56% of Europe's urban population live however in cities and towns of between 5,000 and 100,000 inhabitants, whilst only 12.3% of Europeans live in cities with a population of over one million inhabitants. Only 2 EU cities (London and Paris) feature on the list of the world's 31 "mega cities" (population of more than 10 million inhabitants).
At the joint REGI-COTER meeting on 13 October 2015, REGI and COTER members underlined the need to closely cooperate with all actors towards the development of the EU Urban Agenda, and agreed to issue a joint statement on the REGI-COTER cooperation towards the Pact of Amsterdam/REGI-COTER%202015%20Statement.pdf).
Participation of the CoR rapporteur as speaker at the seminar 'Transition towards Sustainable and Liveable Urban Futures" co-organised by the JPI Urban Europe, the European Commission, the EP Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) and the Urban Intergroup of the European Parliament on 29 September 2015 in Brussels
The European Parliament adopted its resolution on "The Urban dimension of EU policies" in Plenary Session
Vote in REGI committee on the draft report on "The Urban dimension of EU policies".
Informal meeting of Ministers responsible for territorial cohesion and urban matters in Riga:Adoption of the Declaration of Ministers towards the EU Urban AgendaParticipation of the CoR President.
2nd European Cities forum "An Urban Agenda for Europe" in BrusselsThe European Commission presented the results of the public consultation and officially launched the Urban Innovative Actions, an EU initiative to support innovative approaches to tackle future urban challenges in cities across Europe.Participation of the CoR President in the high level panel "Next steps towards the EU urban agenda".Participation of the CoR rapporteur in the workshop on "Smart cities".
Publication of the Staff Working Document on "Results of the public consultation on the key features of an EU Urban Agenda"
CoR rapporteur submitted 20 amendments to the EP rapporteur and the ALDE shadow rapporteur.
The rapporteur addressed a workshop on “When local politics turns into international politics” in the Agora of Cities in Barcelona
Participation of Mr Verkerk in the discussion on the draft report on the urban dimension of EU policies in EP REGI commitee
Participation of Mr Verkerk in the discussion on the draft own-initiative EP report on the urban dimension of EU policies in EP REGI commiteeEP rapporteur's, Ms Westphal, draft report reflects to a large extent the CoR opinion following a prior exchange between the two rapporteurs. Examples of synergies between the two reports are the following requests made in the EP report:the Commission to systematically introduce a territorial impact assessment on the urban dimension of all relevant EU policy initiatives and to make sure that all relevant sectorial EU policies adequately address the challenges that towns, cities and larger functional urban areas are facing; the European Urban Agenda to be based on a new multi-level governance method; consolidation and better coordination between urban platforms and networks (such as URBACT, the Urban Development Network) serving for knowledge sharing between actors
Participation of Mr Verkerk as speaker in an event on “European cities of the future: towards a new urban agenda”, organised by the Barcelona Provincial Council in Brussels
Participation of Mr Verkerk as speaker in the conference "Developing an EU Urban Agenda" in Rome
Publication of a communication on the EU urban agenda; launch of a public consultation until 26/09/2014http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/activity/urban/index_en.cfmhttp://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/consultation/urb_agenda/pdf/comm_act_urb_agenda_en.pdf
The CoR adopted its opinion "Towards an integrated urban agenda for the EU" at Plenary session
The opinion was adopted in Plenary session.
Speech by President Valcarcel on urban regeneration at the Canal Days 2014 in Brussels. Dissemination of the key messages of the draft opinion.The opinion "Towards an integrated urban agenda for the EU" was adopted by COTER commission.
Mr Verkerk participated in the UN Habitat III conference in Medellin, Colombia. He gave several presentations on the EU Urban Agenda, during the ACLA (advisory council of local authorities) meeting and during a Mayors Roundtable. He received already some informal invitations for more presentations.
Mr Verkerk replaced President Valcarcel as speaker at a Seminar on 'Urban Megatrends and Future Challenges for European Urban Areas’ in Brussels, organised by the JPI Urban Europe.Dissemination of the key messages of the draft opinion.
Launch of a consultation by the EGTC platform : http://www.cor.europa.eu/egtcSupport in preparation for the draft opinion
The draft opinion of Mr Verkerk was circulated to all participants of the Urban Development Group (UDG) ahead of the UDG meeting in Athens on 28/02. Raised awareness among national ministries.
1st discussion of the draft opinion in COTER in the presence of CEMR (Carla Rey), EUROCITIES,(Albert Bore) and DG REGIO (Christian Svanfeldt)Interventions by 9 COTER members. Support for the 'White Paper' idea, including from CEMR and EUROCITIES.
Short bilateral meeting with Ms Matoniene (LT/ECR), ENVE rapporteur, at the occasion of the COTER meeting. Ensure good coordination between ENVE and COTER opinions (going to the same plenary session).
Presentation by Mr Verkerk of the draft CoR opinion at the CEMR Thematic Platform on Sustainable territorial and local development
Bilateral meeting of Mr Verkerk with Mr Theurer (DE/ALDE), MEP to present draft opinion.
Mr Verkerk and Ms. Dunger-Löper are scheduled as speakers at the EUROCITIES/CEMR seminar on "An EU urban agenda - for and with cities" (fringe meeting of the EU urban forum, see below). Alignment of positions between city associations and the CoR in order to increase influence on the EU agenda
Lunch of Mr Verkerk with Mrs Jorritsma, President of the CEMR, Mr Van der Laan, Mayor of Amsterdam, and Mr Frequin, DG Ministry of Interior The Netherlands
Participation of Mr Verkerk in the EU Urban Forum: circulation of the draft opinion to all participants and participation of 2 CoR members in the panel debates. Closing speech by Mr Valcarcel and CoR quote in the EC issues paperAll this demonstrates early CoR influence in the process.
Letter sent by Mr Wozniak and Mr Verkerk to all CoR commission chairs inviting commission chairs to request members of their commission to send any written contributions on the draft opinion to the COTER secretariat before 14 March 2014.
Bilateral meeting between Mr Olbrycht MEP and Mr VerkerkInfluence on EP / URBAN intergroup possible own-initiative report in EP in the future?
CEMR Focus Group on Cohesion Policy discussed with Mr. Bas van den Barg the Verkerk opinion (Working document and first version draft opinion)
Mr. Bas Verkerk organised a meeting for local politicians from the Metropole Region Rotterdam-The Hague on his draft opinion
Informal lunch meeting between Mr Verkerk, Annemarie Jorritsma and Mr Marc Frequin (Dutch ministry director general responsible for urban development)Link with the intergovernmental process
Mr.Bas van den Barg and Mr. Aloys Rigaut had a meeting with the Eurocities Secretariat to discuss the opinion (Working document)
Exchange of views in the COTER commission on the basis of a working document
First contact between Mr Verkerk and Mr Olbrycht MEP at the REGI-COTER networking lunch
Mr. Verkerk and Mr.Bas van den Barg had a meeting with MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij on the EU Urban Agenda
Bilateral meeting of the expert and COTER/ALDE secretariat with Mr Piskorz and Christian Svanfeldt (DG REGIO)Preparation of the draft opinion
Bilateral meeting with Mr Piskorz (DG REGIO).Sharing of information
The COTER commission nominated Mr Bas Verkerk (NL/ALDE) as rapporteur for the own-initiative opinion "Towards an integrated urban agenda for the EU"