Pact of Amsterdam has been adopted

Yesterday in Amsterdam, 30-5-2016, EU ministers responsible for urban policy have, under the Netherlands Chairmanship of minister Ronald Plasterk (Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations), adopted the Pact of Amsterdam. The EUKN wants to congratulate the Dutch EU Presidency for this remarkable achievement.

The Pact of Amsterdam is the formal start for the ‘Urban Agenda for the EU’. This will be the basis for European cities to get more involved with EU legislation, getting access to financing and knowledge sharing. The agenda contains proposals for improvement of existing EU policies. This concerns in the first phase themes such as air quality, urban poverty, housing and inclusion of migrants and refugees, as well as jobs in the local economy, circular economy, climate adaptation and mobility.

“The Pact of Amsterdam introduces a new way of working in which European cities, governments and institutions join forces with urban populations. It will help create optimum conditions for cities to improve urban dwellers’ quality of life,” said interior minister Ronald Plasterk at the opening of the ministerial conference on the Urban Agenda for the EU.

The Netherlands has taken the initiative for the Urban Agenda for the EU because cities are increasingly making a difference both globally and in individual Member States. Cities are getting increasingly interconnected and at the same time, especially at an international level, are in increasing competition with each other. This not only leads to widening differences between regions, it also makes innovation a necessity. The EU needs to anticipate and accommodate the development of urban areas. This will be beneficial to the people in both urban areas and the surrounding countryside. It also enhances the international competitiveness of the EU as a whole.

Also new is the fact that the priority themes of the Urban Agenda for the EU are developed in the form of Partnerships. In these partnerships 5 urban areas, 5 Member States, the European Commission, European institutions such as the EIB, together with other partners work together on thematic proposals to improve existing EU policies. The Pact of Amsterdam stipulates that the outcome of those partnerships will be utilised in the improvement of existing EU legislation, access to EU funding and knowledge development and exchange.

The EUKN has been greatly involved in the foundations of the Urban Agenda for the EU. The EUKN contributed to the Urban Agenda State-of-play and it is currently involved in the communication process for the Urban Agenda. Later this year, the EUKN will invite a wide range of urban actors to participate in two seminars dedicated to two of the Pilot Partnerships. With researchers and policy makers at various governmental levels, with the private sector, with social innovators like the City Makers and NGOs, the EUKN will debate the first results of the Partnerships on Poverty and on the Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees to create a bigger impact of the partnerships.

You can find the full text of the Pact of Amsterdam here.