The priorities of the Cyprus Presidency are supported by a detailed Operational Programme. In terms of urban development, 5 operational themes are of specific interest.
Competitiveness: SMEs as the backbone of the European Economy
SMEs make up over 99% of Europe’s business, and for this reason their smooth access to finance needs to be facilitated. Due to the difficult access to finance, the EU is not fully exploiting its entrepreneurial potential. In many cities, this focus on SMEs can play a significant role in stimulating the liveliness of neighbourhoods, and contribute to employment levels.
Transport, telecommunications and energy: vital for economic development and competitiveness
Sustainable and efficient transport not only is a prerequisite for economic growth, it also promotes the quality of life of all European citizens. In this light, the role of ICT and intelligent transport systems will be promoted. The Trans-European Networks, already enabling the activities of businesses and citizens, will be fully revised with the aim of optimizing interconnections. In terms of ICT infrastructure, the rollout of the next generation broadband will be supported, and a legislative framework supporting online transactions will be proposed.
Employment and social policy: ageing and youth employment central stage
Within this pillar, the EU2020 goal of 75% employment is key. Due to the crisis, young people are facing a very difficult employment situation. The ageing population of Europe is putting further pressures on the economy and social protection. The Cyprus Presidency will ensure the follow-up of the Commission’s Employment Package, and explore ways to improve the chances of young people on the job market.
Environment: emphasis on water resource management and reactions to climate change
Good quality water is a first necessity for all humans, and the threats that European water sources are facing need to be addressed. The recently presented ‘Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s water resources’ will be a guideline for action.
The commitment to resource efficiency and CO2 reduction expressed in Kyoto are firmly re-acknowledged. Climate change adaptation is on the agenda as well, and you can find an interesting report on what this means for cities in the Reference Material section.
Education, Youth and Sport: all-round literacy will improve chances on the labour market
Literacy is a main issue to be addressed in this area. Lacking these skills is a huge obstacle for employment that needs be countered. In the field of higher education, quality assurance and internationalization of education will be emphasized.
Cyprus EU Presidency Secretariat 2012
Telephone number 00357 224 001 39