Latvian Presidency Signs Declaration of Ministers towards the EU Urban Agenda

Brigid Mc Aleer
     

An important contribution towards the development of the long discussed EU Urban Agenda has taken place today in Riga. The content of the Riga Declaration demonstrates the close collaboration between the current Presidency TRIO, Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg, and brings particular attention to the development of small- and medium-sized urban areas. The declaration also sets the framework for the future EU Urban Agenda, which is the final goal of the up-and-coming Dutch presidency to be adopted in 2016.

 

Riga, 10th June 2015 - Ministers responsible for territorial cohesion and urban matters from across Europe signed the Riga Declaration, providing political support to the development of the EU Urban Agenda and the significance of Europe’s small- and medium-sized cities as a common priority. The meeting was also attended by, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy as well as representatives from the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee among other relevant stakeholders and observers. 

The importance of small- and medium sized urban areas has been a strong focus during the Latvian presidency. According to a recent report commissioned by the Latvian presidency and written by the European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN) and HESPI (Vidzemes Augstkola University of Applied Sciences), there are over 8,000 small- and medium-sized cities, which are home to 25% of Europe’s population. 

The signing of the Riga Declaration agrees to essential principles and elements of the future EU urban agenda. It also consolidates previous discussions and understandings of national governments, the European Commission and of other institutions. As a common European urban priority, this declaration acknowledges the significance of small- and medium-sized urban areas, and the existing potential they offer in terms of territorial development and the achievement of European goals.

The EUKN is committed to continue providing knowledge support to the EU Urban Agenda.