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Commissioner for Regional Policy
Speaking Points of Commissioner Johannes Hahn
Eurocities 2013 "Smart Citizens" conference/Ghent, Belgium
28 November 2013
It is a pleasure to be here and let me thank our hosts Eurocities and the City of Ghent.
The EU Budget and reform of Cohesion Policy are now secure. We have the green light to start work.
I must also thank Eurocities for its support during the negotiations. The reform of our policy has brought important new elements for example: investment priorities directly targeting urban areas. That means sustainable urban mobility, revitalisation of cities, and the upgrading of research and innovation capacity in urban areas.
I estimate 40% of structural funds are being spent in cities in this period and,this is likely to rise to 50% in the next
Whatever is important to Europe is concentrated in cities. European goals can only be achieved with cities: for example energy efficiency, innovation and tackling poverty.
Under the reforms, there will be a 5% minimum for integrated investments in cities with some delegation of implementation to urban authorities; €330 for innovative actions; mainstreaming of Community Led Local Development (CLLD) to all areas including cities.
Many of you will be involved in the new generation of programmes. These Investments should offer new opportunities – for bringing together different priorities and funds in one programme, to ensure an integrated approach to development; for financial engineering to make the funds work harder. In the next period you will need to plan imaginatively but please do make sure you are ready to start as early as possible in 2014.
Cities are actors, not just the stage on which modern life played out. They need to make their voices heard. In the next period we will need to give more attention to city realities in European and national policy making.
I am glad to announce that Member States have agreed to work on a new urban agenda. The Commission and Eurocities have both supported this.
A new urban agenda would help the Commission as well as member states. It will help us focus resources on most the urgent urban challenges, consolidate urban dimension of Europe 2020.
I invite all of you to a cluster of events in Brussels on the 17th/18th February that will discuss the new agenda in a number of different parallel meetings: namely why we need one, what should be in it and how should it operate?
There is also the launch of a reflection on an EU contribution to an urban agenda for the 21st century under UN HABITAT. The Commission has been asked to coordinate this. In China last week at the Urbanisation Forum, it was clear the European experience is valued world-wide, but Europeans also can learn from cutting edge thinkers elsewhere.