Opinion factsheet

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    Towards an Integrated Urban Agenda for the EU

    BGCSDADEELENESETFIFRHRHUITLTLVMTNLPLPTROSKSLSV
    : CDR 6902/2013
    : VERKERK, Bas
    : ALDE (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe)
    : COTER
    : Adopted
    : 25/06/2014
    The CoR achieved high visibility at the EU Urban Forum on 17-18 February 2014, where CoR President, the rapporteur, as well as several other CoR members participated as speakers. The draft CoR opinion was presented by the rapporteur to the informal meeting of national ministries' director generals responsible for urban policy and the EUROCITIES/CEMR seminar on the Monday morning, which were both official fringe meetings, and was also disseminated to all participants through the EC event's website. Several keynote speakers referred to the CoR during the two-days of the forum, including Minister Lamy (France) and Commissioner Hahn, who warmly thanked the CoR in the closing session for its contribution to the success of the forum, its involvement in the organisation of the event and its support for an EU urban agenda.
    The draft opinion was circulated by the Greek presidency of the Council to all participants of the intergovernmental 'Urban Development Group' (UDG) ahead of the meeting scheduled on 28 February 2014 and had markedly influenced the working document on a "Framework Urban Agenda" circulated by the Dutch delegation for discussion at this occasion (notably pp. 7-9).
    The final opinion was circulated to all Member States by the Italian presidency of the Council at the occasion of the Urban Development Group (UDG) meeting in Rome on 3-4 July 2014. It was shortly presented during the meeting by the COTER secretariat and the value of the CoR input was recognised by several Member States as well as by the Italian presidency of the Council.
    The Commission published on 18 July 2014 a Communication on The urban dimension of EU policies- key features of an EU urban agenda"- COM(2014) 490 final and launched a public consultation on the matter (the results of the public consultation have been published on 22 May 2015 in the Commission Staff Working Document on Results of the public consultation on the key features of an EU Urban Agenda – SWD(2015) 109 final, which was also presented at the 2nd CITIES forum "An Urban Agenda for Europe" on 2 June 2015 in Brussels). This development was supported by the CoR opinion and is widely considered as a stepping stone towards a more ambitious EU urban agenda under the new Commission mandate. The EC communication mentioned the CoR twice (see pages 3 and 8).
    Also in line with the CoR opinion, the General Affairs Council of 19 November 2014 recognised the need for an EU Urban Agenda and requested the European Commission to develop this, factoring in the territorial dimension and the Territorial Agenda 2020 (as had also been requested by the CoR).
    Under the Latvian presidency of the Council, the informal meeting of ministers responsible for territorial cohesion and urban matters, which was held on 10 June 2015 in Riga, adopted the Declaration of Ministers towards the EU Urban Agenda. This declaration was the first official commitment of EU-ministers responsible for Urban Development to the development of an EU Urban Agenda. The Riga declaration highlighted a number of key concerns of the CoR, in particular the need for an integrated and place-based approach, the need for effective coordination of EU polices with an urban dimension, the recognition of the partnership principle as well as the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and the fact that the EU Urban Agenda should apply to towns and cities of all sizes. It also expresses the commitment of ministers to support effective multilevel-governance and to involve local and regional authorities in policy making, including the design, implementation and monitoring of urban policies and policies with a clear urban impact, the commitment to facilitate adequate capacity in local and regional authorities, as well as the call to the European Commission to enhance ex-ante impact assessment of new EU initiatives and legislation with regards to their territorial impacts and consequences for local authorities.
    At its plenary session on 9 September 2015, the European Parliament adopted its resolution on The Urban dimension of EU policies. The rapporteur for this dossier was Ms Kerstin Westphal (DE/S&D). The EP resolution reflected, to a large extent, the CoR opinion following a prior exchange between the two rapporteurs and the submission of a number of amendments to the EP rapporteur that she tabled in REGI.

    Examples of synergies between the two reports are the following requests made in the EP resolution:

    the Commission to introduce, as a general rule, a territorial impact assessment on the urban dimension in order to ensure the practical feasibility of all relevant EU policy initiatives at regional and local level, to be receptive to the input from decentralised levels of government when drawing up impact assessments and new policies ("bottom-up approach") and to make sure that all relevant sectorial EU policies adequately address the challenges that towns, cities and functional urban areas face;
    the European Urban Agenda to be based on a new multilevel governance method, involving the local level more closely at all stages of the policy cycle;
    consolidation and better coordination between urban platforms and networks (such as URBACT, the Urban Development Network) allowing for knowledge sharing between actors;
    in order to be able to assess urban areas more accurately than just on the basis of the GDP indicator, sufficient data must be made available; Eurostat should provide and compile more detailed local data and that work should continue on the Urban Audit and similar surveys; the Commission to work on instruments that could measure the progress and impact of an integrated urban agenda at EU level;
    greater involvement of towns and cities in the Structural and Investment Funds' programmes; the lessons drawn from this could feed into an important policy recommendation for the development of cohesion policy after 2020;
    the Commission to designate a special EU urban coordinator;
     encourages Eurostat and the Commission to provide and compile more detailed data at local level.

    The EP resolution also refers to the following facts that the CoR rapporteur brought up in the CoR opinion:

    that the EU has a unique polycentric structure built around large, medium-sized and small towns and cities;
    that 70% of European policies and legislation are implemented at local and regional level.

    Another highlight in the cooperation with the European Parliament on the matter was the joint REGI-COTER meeting on 13 October 2015, where REGI and COTER members agreed on a joint statement on the REGI-COTER cooperation towards the Pact of Amsterdam, in which both committees explicitly agreed to join forces in their work towards the Pact of Amsterdam, which was complemented by a REGI-COTER roadmap on the matter.
    The Mayors of the EU Capital Cities adopted a Declaration on the EU Urban Agenda on 21 April 2016 in Amsterdam. This political statement clearly followed the CoR opinion and underlined that the final goal of the EU Urban Agenda should be a genuine cross-cutting anchoring of the urban dimension in the EU decision-making process ("urban mainstreaming"), which applies to all relevant European policies and legislation, with a bottom-up approach.
    The opinion, together with the CoR opinion on "Concrete steps for implementing the EU Urban Agenda" (COTER-IV/10, rapporteur: Ms Hella Dunger-Löper (DE/PES)), which had been requested by the Dutch Presidency of the Council, served as a basis for shaping the content of the draft 'Pact of Amsterdam'. The Pact of Amsterdam establishing the Urban Agenda for the EU was finally adopted at the informal ministerial meeting on 30 May 2016 in Amsterdam. A number of CoR recommendations was taken on board in the final version of the Pact, such as the clarification of the status of the CoR as an EU advisory body, the inclusion of a chapter on Member States, including the commitment to engage the relevant bodies at all levels of government in the implementation of the EU Urban Agenda, as well as the call upon the European Commission (EC) to regularly report on the state of play of the EU Urban Agenda.
    In parallel to the informal ministerial meeting, the CoR organised its Forum on the EU Urban Agenda in Amsterdam, jointly with the Association of Netherlands Municipalities, the Association of the Provinces of the Netherlands, the City of Amsterdam and the Province of Noord-Holland. The event brought together more than 400 representatives of local and regional authorities, EU Institutions, Member States and relevant stakeholders, who discussed the concrete steps that are needed to implement the Urban Agenda and to improve the urban dimension in EU policy making. It was also the culmination point of a process of close cooperation of the CoR with the Dutch authorities to place the urban dimension of the urban policies at the core of the EU institutions' agenda. The CoR Forum allowed a very good reflection on the horizontal nature of the Urban Agenda, its mainstreaming and its value for the coordination of sectoral policies. Both the European Parliament and the Commission underlined the important role of the CoR in implementing and politically monitoring the EU Urban Agenda. There was also general consensus that the adoption of the Pact of Amsterdam was not the end, but only the beginning of a continuous process of implementing the Urban Agenda. Regarding the media aspects, the CoR press release on the Pact of Amsterdam was send out in 15 different versions, 13 languages, with tailored content and quotes of 20 CoR members. The activities resulted in about 150 articles and broadcasts in 20 countries including by several national media.
    On 24 June 2016, the General Affairs Council adopted the Council conclusions on an Urban Agenda for the EU. The Council Conclusions in particular invited the Committee of the Regions to provide input, within its competences, for the further development of the Urban Agenda.
    Le Comité des régions,

    - Le traité sur l'Union européenne comporte plusieurs références qui donnent à l'UE une base juridique pour soutenir la politique urbaine menée à l'échelon national, régional et local. Toutefois, il n'existe pour l'instant aucune stratégie urbaine globale tournée vers l'avenir au niveau de l'UE. En raison de l'absence d'une telle stratégie, la cohérence entre les différents programmes de subvention et initiatives politiques est insuffisante au niveau de l'UE et certaines de ces actions politiques ne débouchent pas sur les résultats concrets escomptés;

    - Le Comité des régions appelle la Commission à présenter à la suite de la communication prévue à l'issue du forum urbain des 17 et 18 février 2014 un livre blanc sur un programme urbain intégré;

    - L'objectif de ce livre blanc est de parvenir à une approche plus intégrée de la politique et de la réglementation de l'UE qui s'applique aux villes et aux zones urbaines afin d'éviter les doubles emplois et incohérences existants, et d'associer davantage les villes et les collectivités locales et régionales à la préparation de cette politique. Il devrait également formuler des recommandations sur les éléments des programmes de financement européen susceptibles de promouvoir le développement des villes;

    - Le livre blanc doit déboucher à terme sur un véritable ancrage horizontal de la dimension urbaine dans le processus de décision de l'UE ("intégration de la dimension urbaine"), et non sur une stratégie ou un programme spécifique de l'UE;

    - Jusqu'à présent, l'UE a appliqué des réglementations générales et des délais uniformes pour réaliser ses objectifs politiques. Le CdR estime qu'elle doit désormais mieux tenir compte de la faisabilité de ses initiatives aux niveaux local et (infra)régional dans le cadre de l'élaboration de ses politiques et être ouverte aux contributions des collectivités territoriales à la réalisation d'analyses d'impact et à l'élaboration de la nouvelle politique;

    - Il est temps d'instaurer une nouvelle gouvernance qui renforce la participation des villes dans l'ensemble du cycle d'élaboration des politiques européennes. En associant mieux les villes et les collectivités locales et régionales à toutes les phases de ce cycle, l'UE pourra influer de manière plus efficace sur les changements que connaissent pour l'instant les villes.

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Importance

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Medium
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2015
 

CoR Commission activity

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).

 
12 Oct
 

Rapporteur's activities

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

 
28 Sep
 

European Parliament

The European Parliament adopted its resolution on "The Urban dimension of EU policies" in Plenary Session

 
08 Sep
 

European Parliament

Vote in REGI committee on the draft report on "The Urban dimension of EU policies".

 
16 Jun
 

Council

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.

 
09 Jun
 

European Commission

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".

 
01 Jun
 

European Commission

Publication of the Staff Working Document on "Results of the public consultation on the key features of an EU Urban Agenda"

 
21 May
 

Rapporteur's activities

CoR rapporteur submitted 20 amendments to the EP rapporteur and the ALDE shadow rapporteur.

 
15 Mar
 

Rapporteur's activities

The rapporteur addressed a workshop on “When local politics turns into international politics” in the Agora of Cities in Barcelona

 
09 Mar
 

Rapporteur's activities

Participation of Mr Verkerk in the discussion on the draft report on the urban dimension of EU policies in EP REGI commitee

 
25 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

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

 
25 Feb
2014
 

Rapporteur's activities

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

 
15 Oct
 

Rapporteur's activities

Participation of Mr Verkerk as speaker in the conference "Developing an EU Urban Agenda" in Rome

 
30 Sep
 

European Commission

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

 
17 Jul
 

CoR Plenary Session

The CoR adopted its opinion "Towards an integrated urban agenda for the EU" at Plenary session

 
24 Jun
 

CoR Plenary Session

The opinion was adopted in Plenary session.

 
24 Jun
 

CoR Commission activity

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.

 
04 May
 

Rapporteur's activities

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.

 
04 Apr
 

Rapporteur's activities

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.

 
26 Mar
 

CoR Stakeholder Consultation

Launch of a consultation by the EGTC platform : http://www.cor.europa.eu/egtcSupport in preparation for the draft opinion

 
27 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

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.

 
25 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

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.

 
18 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

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).

 
18 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

Presentation by Mr Verkerk of the draft CoR opinion at the CEMR Thematic Platform on Sustainable territorial and local development

 
17 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

Bilateral meeting of Mr Verkerk with Mr Theurer (DE/ALDE), MEP to present draft opinion.

 
17 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

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

 
16 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

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

 
16 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

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.

 
16 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

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.

 
10 Feb
 

Rapporteur's activities

Bilateral meeting between Mr Olbrycht MEP and Mr VerkerkInfluence on EP / URBAN intergroup possible own-initiative report in EP in the future?

 
29 Jan
 

Rapporteur's activities

CEMR Focus Group on Cohesion Policy discussed with Mr. Bas van den Barg the Verkerk opinion (Working document and first version draft opinion)

 
16 Jan
 

Rapporteur's activities

Mr. Bas Verkerk organised a meeting for local politicians from the Metropole Region Rotterdam-The Hague on his draft opinion

 
15 Jan
 

Rapporteur's activities

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

 
08 Jan
2013
 

Rapporteur's activities

Mr.Bas van den Barg and Mr. Aloys Rigaut had a meeting with the Eurocities Secretariat to discuss the opinion (Working document)

 
17 Dec
 

CoR Commission activity

Exchange of views in the COTER commission on the basis of a working document

 
16 Dec
 

Rapporteur's activities

First contact between Mr Verkerk and Mr Olbrycht MEP at the REGI-COTER networking lunch

 
16 Dec
 

Rapporteur's activities

CEMR Focus Group on Cohesion Policy discussed with Mr. Bas van den Barg the Verkerk opinion (Working document and first version draft opinion)

 
03 Dec
 

Rapporteur's activities

Mr. Verkerk and Mr.Bas van den Barg had a meeting with MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij on the EU Urban Agenda

 
27 Nov
 

CoR Commission activity

Bilateral meeting of the expert and COTER/ALDE secretariat with Mr Piskorz and Christian Svanfeldt (DG REGIO)Preparation of the draft opinion

 
27 Nov
 

Rapporteur's activities

Bilateral meeting with Mr Piskorz (DG REGIO).Sharing of information

 
17 Nov
 

CoR Commission activity

 
 

The COTER commission nominated Mr Bas Verkerk (NL/ALDE) as rapporteur for the own-initiative opinion "Towards an integrated urban agenda for the EU"

 
25 Sep
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