Mr van Iersel, President of the ECO Section, attended the Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters which took place on 27 November 2015 in Luxembourg. Topics raised concerned the possible added-value of small and mediums-sized cities in cross-border regions, the progress towards the EU Urban Agenda, the urban challenges of the refugee situation and most importantly the Luxembourg Presidency Conclusions, a document which sums up the high-level representatives’ declared opinion on the aforementioned matters (see below). This meeting was an essential milestone towards the EU Urban Agenda, a brand new initiative which the EESC has requested for years.
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Community Led Local Development (CLLD) is a specific tool for use at sub-regional level, which is complementary to other development support at local level. CLLD can mobilise and involve local communities and organisations to contribute to achieving the Europe 2020 Strategy goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, fostering territorial cohesion and reaching specific policy objectives.
In order to deliver an overview of the position of civil society, a public hearing was organised on 29 September 2014 at the EESC headquarters in Brussels, bringing together different actors in the field who shares their experience and positions regarding this new tool.
On 29 April 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation conducted a study visit in La Rochelle to discover some of the inspirational smart city initiatives that have been implemented so far.
The delegation had the opportunity to make a technical visit to find out, inter alia, about the Atlantech project.
On 13 May 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation carried out a study visit in Malaga to gain first-hand knowledge of some of the extremely interesting smart city projects that have been set up in the city. The delegation learned, inter alia, about the "ZeM2All" project (Zero Emissions Mobility to All).
On 20th April 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the Egadi Islands (IT), with the objective to evaluate the islands' use of local resources. With 54 000 hectares, the Egadi Islands constitute the most important marine reserve of the EU. Welcomed by M Giuseppe Pagoto, Mayor of Favignana and M Stefano Donati, Director of the Protected Marine Area of the Egadi Islands, EESC Members had a fruitful exchange of views with local stakeholders including citizens. The EESC delegation visited four projects developed in the island: a photovoltaic plant managed by the municipality, the Posidonia's pilot project managed by the Protected Marine Area, a marine rescue centre opened to fishermen, the conversion of an old tuna factory into a museum of archaeology supported by the Region of Sicilia, and a project combining water supply and waste reduction.
The conference will debate the role of smart cities in driving the EU's economic revival by drawing on US and Italian experience. The panellists and the audience will specifically assess the challenges that lie ahead in supporting smart cities and how civil society can be mobilised to deliver concrete projects in Europe. Furthermore, the event will introduce a debate among private and public decision makers about how to make the approach to Smart Cities more systemic and concrete, through large-scale public private partnership projects.
On 30 March 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation conducted a study visit in Genoa to discover some of the very inspiring smart city initiatives that have been implemented there. The Municipality of Genoa is investing in its ‘vision’ of a city able to recognise and manage its own unique complexities, through the implementation of an intelligent, integrated and sustainable urban system, which identifies and enhances its own cultural, economic, productive and environmental characteristics, thus helping to develop a compatible and attractive natural urban fabric. Genoa has an ‘experimental’ vocation and sees itself as a laboratory in which to develop an innovative and technological approach designed to meet the city’s real needs, including in partnership with other Smart Cities.
On 10th and 11th September 2015, a delegation of Members TEN Section is on mission in the île d'Yeu (FR), with the objective to evaluate the island's conversion to renewables, soft mobility and optical fiber.
Within the framework of its own-initiative opinion Proposal for mapping macro-regional strategies across Europe, the Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion of the European Economic and Social Committee is organising a public hearing on 26 November 2014 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The opinion aims to give an overview on the European macro-regional strategies, analysing the differences and commonalities between their approaches across the various regions. Its purpose is to present a proposal on how to adjust such strategies to achieve uniform European development practice.
On 4th May 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section is on mission to the island of Samsø (Denmark), with the objective to evaluate the islands' smart projects developed in the area of energy autonomy.