EU Welcomes Dutch Presidency’s Urban Agenda
The Committee of the Regions has endorsed the Dutch EU Presidency’s push for a renewal of the urban agenda. “Creating and investing in sustainable cities has long been a shared objective by governments at all levels,” said Markku Markkula, the committee’s president, “but there has been an apparent lack of coherence in EU policy.”
The EU's assembly of regional and local representatives hosted Donald Tusk, president of the European Council and Ronald Plasterk, Dutch interior minister. The Netherlands plan to “maximize the contribution of cities to European objectives,” Plasterk said. “The Agenda strives to improve coordination of EU and national policies which have a clear impact on cities.”
The Dutch minister’s goal is to “urban proof” policies by improving regulation, access to financing and sharing of knowledge.
This is especially important when the refugee crisis is affecting many European nations, argued Tusk. “Cities, local communities and regions have some of the toughest jobs in Europe right now,” he said, “most obviously the effort to receive and integrate people in need of international protection.”
Support of the main EU policy-making bodies is welcome at this early stage. The Dutch intent to institutionalize common urban policies with the signing of a Pact of Amsterdam in May.