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MEPs and local leaders discuss new plans on migration, air quality, poverty and housing  
Thanks to EU Urban Agenda, european cities have joined forces with EU institutions, national and regional governments, associations and experts to better address challenges such as migration, air quality, fight against poverty, housing. 
After more than one year of work, the pilot partnerships are now presenting their draft action plans which will be discussed over the summer in open consultations involving all member states and administrative levels – from Brussels to town halls.
The action plans were discussed in the joint hearing organised by the European Parliament's committee on regional development (REGI) and commission for territorial cohesion policy (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions on 29 June. 

"Given the great challenges we are facing today, we are all aware of the important role the Urban Agenda will play for the EU. It is essential to achieve a more effective coordination among the many policies which have an impact on urban areas and we have to take into account the experience of local and regional authorities in delivering policies on the ground", said the REGI chair Iskra Mihaylova (ALDE, BG).

"The day after the presentation of the Commission's reflection paper on the future of EU finance, we mobilised with the European Parliament to make sure that the next EU budget allows us to build a Union of regions and cities, a Union where citizens' needs are at the heart of common policies thanks to the active role of local and regional authorities and to a true democratic participation", stressed COTER chair Raffaele Cattaneo, president of the regional council of Lombardia.

During the discussion, President Cattaneo stressed that some elements of the Commission's paper suggest "a preference for centrally managed programmes". Such approach would be in "clear contradiction with the urgent need to relaunch the European project from the bottom up". According to the COTER chair, "The future is not centralisation, cannot be shaped by decision taken in a closed room in Brussels or in Luxembourg. The future must be built on shared responsibilities, on partnerships where cities and regions work with EU and national institutions to involve local actors and deliver concrete benefits for the citizens".

You can follow the Hearing as a recorded event here (soon available).
Further information
Kristina-Antigoni ELEFTERIE
European Parliament
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