Mr van Iersel, President of the ECO Section and Mr Haken, vice-president of the ECO Section, represented the EESC at the Informal Meeting of Ministers responsible for urban policy which took place on 30 May 2016 in Amsterdam. After decades of working together towards a common European urban project, it is within this context that the 28 Ministers, along with representatives from other EU Institutions, cities and urban authorities agreed on the "Pact of Amsterdam" which sets out the principles of the EU Urban Agenda.
Under the auspices of this agreement, 12 partnerships will be developed to manage different areas identified as common urban challenges to the development of the European cities. The partnerships will bring together cities, Member States, EU Institutions and stakeholders, such as NGOs and business partners, to cooperate on finding common ways to improve urban territories in the European Union.
In his speech, Mr van Iersel, President of the ECO Section, pointed out that city development should remain a bottom-up development in which society and businesses participate fully. He stressed that the involvement of the private sector was essential as public funding is not always available. In order to achieve the goals of the EU Urban Agenda, long lasting commitment as well as a governance model which respects the principles of the triple and quadruple helix approach are necessary. Finally, he confirmed that the EESC supported that the Commission develops the management skills needed to perform the duties associated with the coordinated implementation of the proposed urban policy.
The results of the partnerships are going to be considered as the basis for further work on the enhancement of the European urban policy, in which the EESC will remain an active partner.
You can find Mr van Iersel's full speech in the document below and the EESC's press release on this matter here.