METREX President Jakub Mazur signed “Brussels Declaration” on Wednesday alongside 40 major European mayors signalling call for the development of an ambitious European urban policy.
At the initiative of Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels Region, and Ans Persoons, Secretary of State for Urban Planning and International Relations, the Brussels Region brought together 40 mayors and elected representatives from European cities and metropolises at the Egmont Palace on Wednesday, 24 January.
European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira in charge of Cohesion and Reforms, the President of the Committee of the Regions, the President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development, representatives of European and international institutions, five city networks and associations including METREX were also present to discuss the future of urban policy in Europe.
This event is part of the official programme of the Belgian Presidency of the EU, in its urban policy dimension chaired and coordinated by the Brussels Region. The high-level meeting was crowned by the signing of a joint declaration by the mayors addressing the European institutions with concrete priorities and recommendations for a strong and ambitious EU urban policy during their next European mandate, following the elections in June.
More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and the trend towards urbanisation continues to grow. Throughout the Belgian Presidency of the EU, the Brussels Region will be defending a policy in which major cities play a role as partners and driving forces in achieving the objectives they share with the EU.
The “Brussels Declaration” is seen as a key element of the urban policy component of the Belgian Presidency of the EU. Written following a co-construction process bringing together the main European cities and all the major city networks, the declaration sets out the political issues facing cities and formulates priorities and recommendations for the attention of the European institutions for their future mandate (2024-2029).
To date, the declaration has been signed by 40 major cities from 19 Member States across Europe. METREX will share the declaration with its network
With this declaration, the European mayors and urban networks call for an ambitious European urban policy and present four fundamental priorities for cities and six recommendations to the European institutions for the EU’s 2024-2029 mandate.
The 4 priorities:
1. Promote the right to affordable, quality and sustainable housing;
2. Combat social and gender inequalities and promote inclusion;
3. Combat climate change, guarantee a healthy environment and restore biodiversity;
4. Develop safe, inclusive and sustainable mobility.
The 6 recommendations:
1. Systematic dialogue and greater involvement of local governments at European level
2. Better integration and coordination of urban issues at European level
3. More city-friendly European regulations
4. More accessible and city-friendly European funding
5. Promoting metropolitan governance
6. A paradigm shift towards a new sustainable model for cities
Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the Brussels Region, said: “The Brussels Region is playing an active role in this 13th Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, particularly through this high-level meeting devoted to the future of the Union’s urban policy. This presidency is an opportunity for us to recall the importance of cities and metropolises in the construction of Europe. With this declaration, Brussels will act as the spokesperson for European cities to the European institutions over the coming months. I am convinced that a strengthened dialogue and partnership between the EU and its cities will help us to meet our common challenges and objectives in terms of economic, social and territorial cohesion, climate, innovation and housing. During this Presidency, the people of Brussels and the many visitors to our capital will also be able to take advantage of a very rich offer of public and cultural events putting Europe in the spotlight, in the heart of its capital.”
Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, said: “European cities count! They play a major role in making European policies a reality on the ground, from the digital transition to the green economy. This is why European Cohesion Policy is devoting a historically high €24 billion to sustainable urban development strategies throughout the European Union during the 2021-2027 financial programming period. Local leaders have a key role to play in shaping policy, and we must ensure that the voice of cities and mayors is heard to enable cities of all sizes to develop their full potential.”
Jakub Mazur, President of METREX and First Deputy Mayor of Wrocław, said: “Metropolitan regions and areas are a key but under-valued ingredient in creating a more resilient and competitive Europe. METREX is thrilled to be representing over 50 such Metropolitan Partnerships at this important high level event for the Belgian Presidency of the EU. We look forward to debating with mayors on how Metropolitan Partnerships can enhance urban policy in a way that simultaneously strengthens other areas, and the tools and resources they urgently need to help unlock Europe’s future success.”
More information on the Belgian Presidency of the EU on urban policy: www.perspective.brussels For a complete overview of the Brussels Region’s official programme during the Belgian Presidency, see https://international.brussels/belgian-eu-presidency-2024.