Where is the best place to communicate about future regional policy? In Brussels, of course!
During the 7th dialogue between the 28 mayors of the European capital cities, the mayors adopted the “Brussels Declaration” on September 25th. With the commissioners, C. Cretu and J. Katainen and 24 capital cities present, the Declaration firstly shows a strong willingness to continue working with London even after the Brexit.
The aim of this Declaration was to position cities as real actors in the future 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy. If the latter wants to better support growth, then it is about giving the means to the cities, which are truly the link between the European Union and the citizens. Adopted by the 28 mayors, Eurocities and under the supervision of the Committee of the Regions, this Declaration focuses on public investment in cities, particularly on education, health, employment and integration. The ambition is great since the mayors want to obtain 6% of the ERDF in English for the capital cities. They work hand-in-hand with the Commission and hope to include the Urban Agenda in all European Union policies as early as 2021.
“Less bureaucracy in Brussels and a shorter path between Europe and the cities,” say the 24 mayors present in Brussels. This desire for a strengthened Urban Agenda is essential to make cities more livable and to show and communicate better where Europe’s money is going. The mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, confirms, “We are pragmatic places & forces in a polarized Europe”.
The host mayor, Philippe Close, added, “We experience the same problems, we live the same topics, such as education, security, the relationship with citizens, participation. Beyond that, there was a real dialogue and a real debate over 4 hours with the Commission. The latter understood that the cities are the face of its policy through which, among others, the various cohesion programs. The big absentees are the Member States, the Council of the Union, which badly finances its cities and who badly finances the Commission which in the end has to make budget cuts. For Belgium as a federal State relations do not go too badly. But, the budget cuts with the Brexit are already there.”