CoR Forum on the EU Urban Agenda _ 30 May 2016

Towns, cities and urban areas are of crucial importance for the European Union. They are powerful engines for growth and jobs and as such make a significant contribution towards achieving both the Europe 2020 Strategy and the economic, social and territorial development of the EU. However, at the same time they are confronted with difficult and complex societal challenges, such as demographic shifts, climate change and youth unemployment as well as the current refugee crisis. To be successful, towns and cities need to respond to these challenges in an integrated way, in cooperation with other levels of administration, the private sector and civil society. It is also important that the urban dimension is recognised at all levels of policy making and governance and that all policies with an urban dimension are effectively coordinated.

The new EU Urban Agenda should improve the quality of life in urban areas but also the EU governance. It is about new working methods.  It is time for a more integrated approach to EU policy making and legislation that affect towns, cities and urban areas, in order to eliminate existing overlaps and inconsistencies, and to involve towns and cities and local and regional authorities more closely in the preparation of that policy.

In this light, the EU Urban Agenda is intended to provide an operational framework and effective instruments to horizontally improve the urban dimension in European policymaking. This includes better policies, territorial impact assessment, more tailor made and place sensitive EU-funds. It also includes opportunities to exchange knowledge and best practices, research and cooperation. The EU Urban Agenda shall be taken forward in close partnership among Member States, the European institutions, regional and urban authorities and other stakeholders.

Against this background, the European Committee of the Regions is organising a Forum on the EU Urban Agenda in the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam on Monday 30 May 2016. The event will be organized together 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 CoR Forum on the EU Urban Agenda will bring together representatives of local and regional authorities, EU institutions, Member States and relevant stakeholders. They will discuss the concrete steps that are needed to implement the EU Urban Agenda and to improve the urban dimension in EU policy making. The Forum will be held back to back to the informal meeting of Ministers responsible for urban matters, where the envisaged "Pact of Amsterdam" on the EU Urban Agenda is expected to be adopted.

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