On 3 May 2016 Prof. Jo Coenen, Curating Director of IBA Parkstad invited Mr van Iersel, ECO Section President, Mr Palmieri, president, and Mr Haken, rapporteur of the EESC opinion on the Future of the EU Urban Agenda, to visit IBA Parkstad in Heerlen, Netherlands.
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In the context of the work on the EESC opinion on the EU Urban Agenda requested by the Dutch Presidency, the EESC, on the initiative of rapporteur Mr Haken co-organised, together with the Municipality of Prague 14, a study visit to Prague on 1 December 2015.
The purpose of this visit was to gain first-hand insight on urban challenges and potential while experiencing two extremely different sides of Prague (a problem faced by so many other European cities requiring complex solutions). Following their visit to the city centre, the EESC members of the study group together with experts in urban planning and local stakeholders spent a day in Černý Most.
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.