Joint organiser: Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning of Slovenia
In a series of tailored EUKN activities to support Slovenia’s preparation for its 2021 EU Council Presidency, this Policy Lab focused on the European Green Deal (EGD)’s urban dimensions and its connection with the ‘green’ Partnerships of the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU).
An expert-led panel discussion contextualised the UAEU’s ‘green’ actions both politically and institutionally, highlighting European cities’ commitments and achievements regarding the EGD and UAEU Partnerships. Three interactive Working Groups then gave participants a platform to discuss the regulatory obstacles cities face in achieving environmental goals, and overcoming these barriers.
To fully leverage the EGD, Mr Agotha called on the UAEU Thematic Partnerships, and especially cities, to connect and share knowledge and practices, in order to create high-quality EGD programme proposals. He also highlighted that the EGD was only actionable via integrating social justice, noting Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans’ initial remark: ‘This will be a just transition, or there just will be no transition.’
Ms Castán Broto recognised the EGD as a future strategy, but expressed concern about its root rationale – pursuing economic growth – and reducing possible futures to one narrative. Highlighting that urban interventions have unequal impacts, she supported EGD implementation with an equity-focused approach, including diverse views on ‘value’ in urban environments to ensure just outcomes.
The MEP stressed the need for concrete actions to evolve the UAEU, motivating cities and regions to participate. In his view, declarations like the New Leipzig Charter are key to define common goals, but these need to be translated into specific practices through UAEU Partnerships, practical Action Plans and multi-level cooperation and governance. He noted that, as the UAEU shows, the urban dimension extends beyond Cohesion Policy to all EU policies, as in the EGD’s horizontal strategy.
Mr McCarthy reminded Policy Lab participants of the often-unnoticed impressive achievements of the voluntary Partnerships, which he felt should be better communicated to citizens. While noting the disconnect between the UAEU’s ‘non-green’ and ‘green’ aspects, he was positive about cities’ commitment to become ‘greener’.
To him, the Fit for 55 Package is a welcome example of the UAEU’s BR strand.
With numerous examples of their climate neutrality commitments, Ms Coffineau clarified that cities are sustainable digital transition leaders, posing that the EGD is an investment-driving enabler. For the future UAEU, she suggested the European Commission and Member States continue collaborating with cities, which need support to reach their objectives. More active involvement of the Commission’s Directorate-Generals and more resources would also develop stronger and more progressive UAEU governance.
Investigating how to harness the Urban Agenda for the EU to promote environmental sustainability and better regulation, analysing five of its ‘green’ actions via an EUKN-developed approach.Read more
An official side event of the 2019 European Week of Regions and Cities, exploring two of its guiding topics: a greener Europe and a Europe closer to citizens.Read more
An official side event of the 2020 European Week of Regions and Cities, fostering action-orientated exchange on Urban Agenda for the EU Partnerships with relevant institutions and stakeholders.Read more