The President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Markku Markkula, welcomes the adoption, on 24 June, of the conclusions establishing an Urban Agenda for the EU at the General Affairs Council.
"In such a challenging time for Europe, cities can help boost the EU i's capacity to create better rules contributing to delivering vital objectives such as growth, social inclusion and a cleaner environment. The creation of an Urban Agenda is an important step towards a Union that closer meets the needs of citizens, is easier to understand and delivers results on the ground.
With these conclusions EU member states have shown a commitment to paying more attention to the diversity of urban areas of all sizes and will help improve functional urban areas and urban-rural linkages; advocate for a better involvement of urban and regional authorities in the preparation and evaluation of EU policy; and call on the European Commission to play an active role in facilitating the implementation of the Urban Agenda and strengthen the urban dimension of EU policies impacting on urban areas.
The Committee, whose role has been properly acknowledged in the conclusions, will keep pushing for a strong Urban Agenda within the EU and will monitor its implementation together with the European Parliament. The CoR will also get actively be involved in the Thematic Partnerships, closely cooperating with the European Commission, as well as with the rotating EU presidencies to better integrate EU, national and local policies and tools for sustainable urban development. Through our collaboration with the European Investment Bank on a range of Urban Agenda-related initiatives, we intend to share knowledge with local and regional decision-makers in order to improve their access to funds.
Our next step is the Summit of cities and regions in Bratislava where the CoR has invited hundreds of mayors and where many speakers from both capital cities and small/medium towns will start contributing to the implementation of the Urban agenda priorities".