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Harnessing the potential of the Urban Agenda for the EU

27-06-2018

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policymaking. To help ...

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policymaking. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 communications on the urban dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicated broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. The European Parliament also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue, as part of a process that would ultimately lead to the signing of the Pact of Amsterdam on 30 May 2016, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda. With the pact providing for the creation of 12 urban partnerships focusing on key urban themes, all partnerships are now in operation. Developments such as improved coordination within the Commission on urban issues and new resources including a permanent secretariat have consolidated the Urban Agenda, yet challenges remain. The Commission's proposals for the cohesion framework post-2020, which include the creation of a European urban initiative to support the Urban Agenda, have the potential to further strengthen the Urban Agenda but these plans will be subject to tough negotiations in the months ahead. Ultimately, the success of the Urban Agenda will depend on the partnerships' ability to deliver concrete action plans and on the extent to which they are taken up by the Commission, a process requiring full commitment from all the partners. This Briefing is a further update of an earlier one originally published in June 2016, PE 614.595.

Cities: Front line of climate action

16-02-2018

Cities have a crucial role to play in addressing the climate change challenge and delivering on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. In the European Union (EU), where nearly three quarters of the population live in urban areas, many cities are leading the way in this regard, taking action in three areas central to increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions – namely, buildings, energy supply, and transport – and acting as living laboratories of climate-change-related innovation. The EU supports ...

Cities have a crucial role to play in addressing the climate change challenge and delivering on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. In the European Union (EU), where nearly three quarters of the population live in urban areas, many cities are leading the way in this regard, taking action in three areas central to increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions – namely, buildings, energy supply, and transport – and acting as living laboratories of climate-change-related innovation. The EU supports cities in their efforts by providing guidance, promoting experience-and knowledge-sharing, fostering cooperation, and funding climate action. Climate-relevant initiatives are in place in various policy fields, from transport to the environment, research and innovation, the most high-profile being the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which currently counts over 7 700 signatories. A supportive framework is essential to ensure city-level initiatives have enough resources and potential to effect meaningful change. Easing access to climate funding and strengthening the role of cities in climate governance are among the main challenges ahead, and the main demands of city associations. The latter issue is currently in the spotlight, notably in relation to the proposal for a regulation on energy union governance, part of the EU clean energy package. The European Parliament adopted amendments to the proposed regulation in January 2018. The role of EU regions and cities in implementing the Paris Agreement is also the subject of an own-initiative report, scheduled for debate during the March plenary session. This briefing is an update of an earlier one published in October 2017.