Thematic partnerships under the Ljubljana agreement

EESC opinion: Thematic partnerships under the Ljubljana agreement

Key points

    The EESC:

  • strongly supports the statements presented in the Ljubljana Agreement concerning the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU), and particularly welcomes the strong focus on partnership and multilevel and multi-stakeholder approaches in sustainable urban development;
  • believes that the thematic partnerships should deliver tangible and sustainable actions and results that last longer than the partnerships themselves. Transferring results to other Member States, regions, cities or sectors should be a continuous consideration;
  • stresses that the link between the UAEU and Cohesion Policy could be strengthened. Despite being two distinct policies and initiatives with different objectives embedded in different frameworks, synergies should exist;
  • believes that the criteria used for selecting partners for thematic partnerships needs to be more specific, open and inclusive. The selection process should not neglect the social partners and civil society organisations' opportunity to participate in this process alongside urban authorities;
  • thinks that working conditions, career predictability, and access to high-quality jobs, equal opportunities and adequate wages should be approached in a transversal way. Ensuring all kinds of dialogues and consultations with stakeholders such as social dialogue, civic dialogue and consultations with citizens should be taken into account;
  • suggests that the bottom-up approach, thematic clusters, thematic networks and networks for developing tailored and place-based solutions be taken into account, alongside the ability to use existing thematic and city networks, especially for small and medium-sized cities;
  • notes that its role in the governance of the UAEU and of the Ljubljana Agreement could be strengthened. The EESC should also become part of both the Urban Development Group and the Urban Agenda Technical Preparatory Group, and involved in the Directors General meeting on urban matters;
  • proposes that participatory democracy, the economy of wellbeing in cities and urban-rural connections could be additional themes approached by the thematic partnerships, with a special attention on youth;
  • reiterates its suggestion to establish a dedicated secretariat for improving the thematic partnerships' efficiency and effectiveness, in order to ensure a link with urban policies at local level, to ensure technical assistance and to facilitate the creation of thematic communities and the exchange of thematic best practices. This should be done in close cooperation with European Committee of the Regions.