Within the European Union, urban matters are discussed and shaped via intergovernmental cooperation.

As a result, the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union plays an instrumental role in advancing its joint Urban Agenda. During their Council Presidency, the EUKN supports its members with comprehensive expertise and tailored knowledge-sharing events on urban development topics.

Our contributions to Council Presidency agendas include helping shape the 2007 Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities, as well as its 2020 update in the New Leipzig Charter, and collaborating on establishing and developing the Urban Agenda for the EU.

Launched under the Dutch Presidency in 2016, the Urban Agenda for the EU is a unique and experimental approach to multi-level urban governance in Europe. Its Thematic Partnership approach enables multiple stakeholders to collaborate on key urban challenges, on equal footing. It has also given new momentum to intergovernmental cooperation on urban policy.

European urban policy milestones

  • 2021, under Portuguese & Slovenian Presidencies

    Further development of the Urban Agenda for the EU

    Following positive assessment of the Urban Agenda for the EU’s initial implementation, it will be supported by the European Urban Initiative under EU Cohesion Policy in the 2021-2027 programming period.

    To prepare this new phase of the Urban Agenda for the EU, the EUKN supported the Germany-Portugal-Slovenia Presidency Trio with stakeholder engagement workshops, background analysis, and dedicated Policy Labs.

  • 2020, under German Presidency

    New Leipzig Charter

    The New Leipzig Charter emphasises the transformative power of cities for the common good, focusing on their potential to be just, green and productive spaces. It provides a framework for local and regional authorities, Member States and EU bodies to foster more resilient, sustainable urban areas.

    The EUKN supported the German Council Presidency to proactively engage with European and German stakeholders from 2018-2020. This led to the endorsement of the New Leipzig Charter during the informal meeting of the Ministers for urban matters in November 2020.

  • 2019, under Romanian Presidency

    Bucharest Declaration

    The Romanian Council Presidency drafted the Bucharest Declaration to reflect on progress, opportunities and challenges in urban and regional development policies.

    As a result, it interlinks the Pact of Amsterdam, the Territorial Agenda of the European Union and the New Leipzig Charter.

  • 2016, under Dutch Presidency

    Pact of Amsterdam establishing the Urban Agenda for the EU

    Initiated with the Pact of Amsterdam, the Urban Agenda for the EU introduced a multi-level approach to urban matters. It unites multiple actors, including cities, European institutions, Member States and local stakeholders, to jointly tackle urban challenges.

    A year on from the Pact of Amsterdam, the EUKN analysed the progress and effects of the actions implemented under the Urban Agenda for the EU, in a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

  • 2010, under Spanish Presidency

    Toledo Declaration

    The Toledo Declaration underlines the importance of integrated urban regeneration, as well as its strategic potential for smarter, more sustainable and socially inclusive urban development in Europe.

    Alongside this, it highlights the future need to consolidate a European Urban Agenda, and to develop instruments to implement the Leipzig Charter at all levels.

  • 2007, under German Presidency

    Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities

    A pioneering document, the Leipzig Charter compiled key guidance for urban policy in Europe. It highlights the indispensability of an integrated approach in urban policy, alongside focus on underserved neighbourhoods.

    In 2017, the EUKN published a report on the Leipzig Charter’s legacy, identifying the ongoing importance of an integrated approach in European urban policy.

Related EUKN activities