The EESC welcomes the increasing acknowledgment of metropolitan developments in Europe by the European institutions – Council, Commission, European Parliament and Committee of the Regions – in the framework of the Territorial Agenda 2020. This rising priority is in line with the consistent views of the Committee, as expressed over the last decade.
The EESC advocates an imaginative approach to a 21st century urban renaissance and resilient and competitive metropolitan areas. Economic, social, environmental and territorial trends, as well as depressed financial prospects, urgently demand a coherent EU Urban Agenda, closely linked with Europe 2020.
The EESC believes that well-balanced and robust MAs, stimulated in the framework of Europe 2020, will develop as spearheads of future developments, each with their own identity and characteristics. They will also have a positive macro-economic impact for Europe. Policies on metropolitan developments should run parallel with a focus on reducing regional disparities.
The EESC recommends the establishment of a High Level Group (HLG) or Task Force on metropolitan developments alongside the Commission's existing Interservice Group on Urban Development. Such a Task Force should be interdisciplinary and embrace a variety of representatives from Member States, MAs, public and private stakeholders, and civil society.
Metropolitan development in Europe is well under way. The EESC is convinced that a future oriented EU Platform – Task Force and Interservice Group – can function as a catalyst in steering the debate on ongoing processes, in defining top-down and bottom-up approaches, in encouraging regional/local authorities and civil society to develop appropriate models, in promoting interconnections, and in supporting cross-border initiatives.
A Europe 2020 Urban Agenda would also require increased monitoring of the Commission concerning issues that are directly related to cities and MAs. This means that cities and MAs, including stakeholders and civil society, must be accepted as co-actors in implementing policies and EU programmes.