The CoR could build on the port cities' experiences in the regeneration of port cities and surrounding areas in order to improve the use of EU funding instruments, governance arrangements and urban planning.
This own initiative opinion will look into innovative approaches for the regeneration of port cities.
Moreover the opinion would raise awareness on the importance of port-cities and port areas for territorial cohesion in the EU as well as on the need to promote further cooperation and targeted investments at EU level in order to address current and future challenges.
Within the framework of the opinion on "Regeneration of Port Cities and Port Areas" led by Mr Stanislaw Szwabski, Member of Gdynia City Council, the European Committee of the Regions jointly with the Maltese Presidency of the Council were closely cooperating to put that matter on the European agenda.
During the past Maltese Presidency the maritime sector was successfully being showcased as a sector which embraces sustainability and digitalisation on all fronts, ranging from the ship to the shore, and to port and extending to the hinterland. For this reason, the Maltese Presidency engaged in several activities, including discussions within the Council, Conferences and a number of seminars and workshops.
The Presidency attached great importance to CEF and the completion of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) for which ports play a strategic role in improving and promoting connectivity within Europe to foster new opportunities for economic growth. In addition, in light of the recent adoption of the Ports Regulation and in the context of 2017 being the maritime year of the European Commission, the Presidency started the debate on the regeneration of port cities and port areas.
An official Maltese Presidency event jintly organised with the Committee of the Regions in june 2017 included testimonies from cities, port authorities and terminal operators on what kind of challenges and opportunities have to be faced to revitalize port cities and areas. Representatives of the European Commission explained how the Union could support these projects from different angles. Finally, participants had the opportunity to know more on best practices related to the promotion of ports and cities synergies to achieve integrated territorial development.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- calls for the Urban Agenda for the EU to take account of the geographical and functional differences between cities, including the specific development problems of port cities, which should be addressed by means of further work on their implementation;
- welcomes the principles laid down by Article 15 of the Ports Regulation and, without putting into question the agreement reached, invites the European Commission to provide further guidance when it comes to its implementation;
- stresses that synergy effects in port-city relations, which have sometimes been weakened by the liberalisation and globalisation of markets, need to be identified and enhanced. Where necessary, soft law policy instruments, such as the creation of the conditions for the exchange of experience, communication, codes of conduct, guidelines may serve as useful instruments;
- recommends that EU policies in the areas of transport, the maritime economy and protection of the marine and aquatic environment take account of the development challenges of ports and port cities;
- points out that environmental issues should be a permanent aspect of all EU programmes and projects aimed at revitalising port cities and areas, in connection with programmes and projects aimed at environmental conservation, particularly conservation of the marine and aquatic environment;
- considers that the European Commission should support projects to improve transport links between existing and planned ports and their hinterland, as well as the connectivity of remote and island and outermost areas particularly by creating a legal framework and new financial instruments.