Eurocities Launches Manifesto to Shape a Better Europe from Urban Centers

This document presents a strategic agenda for the European Union, highlighting the growing importance of urban areas in determining the future of the continent.

With an estimated 80% of Europe's population expected to reside in cities by 2050, the manifesto stresses the need to leverage the potential of urban centers in addressing Europe's pressing challenges. It emphasizes the significant role urban policy and governance will have in shaping the EU's future trajectory.

Key Areas of Focus in the Manifesto

  1. Social Agenda: The manifesto calls for an enhanced European Pillar of Social Rights, tailored to current crises. This includes ensuring affordable housing, boosting job creation in green and digital sectors, and fostering public health and inclusion for vulnerable communities.
  2. Green Deal Ambition: There's a demand for support in implementing sustainable city initiatives like energy-efficient buildings and sustainable food systems. The manifesto sets an ambitious climate target of a minimum 90% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
  3. Digital Agenda: The cities advocate for a framework that supports human rights online, tackles the digital divide, and aligns technological advancements with climate neutrality goals.
  4. Local Europe with Action Capacity: The manifesto insists on strengthening local governments' technical and administrative capacities, including direct access to EU funding and revised budgetary rules for local public investments.
  5. Coherent Strategy for Urban Policies: It proposes regular, direct dialogue between EU and city leaders and the appointment of an Urban Envoy within the European Commission to coordinate all EU policies for cities.

The Role of Cities in Addressing Core Challenges

The manifesto positions cities at the forefront of addressing Europe's challenges due to their proximity to residents and their ability to implement rapid, effective changes. It argues that empowering urban leaders benefits not only city dwellers but also residents of peri-urban and rural areas through strategic alliances.

Addressing Daily Challenges and Global Crises

The manifesto highlights the unique understanding city leaders have of residents' needs, essential for tackling local challenges and delivering core services. It positions itself as a response to daily issues like affordable housing, employment, and access to healthy food, which have been intensified by recent crises.

Examples of Local Action

Cities like Bonn and Gothenburg have demonstrated proactive approaches in addressing social exclusion, education, and inclusion. Glasgow and Uppsala have made strides in integrating sustainability in various sectors, showcasing the impact of local actions on broader challenges.

Solidarity and Support

Eurocities has united cities in response to global issues, such as supporting Ukraine amidst the Russian war and collaboratively working towards sustainable rebuilding. The network also reflects on the significant role local governments played during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Call for EU Engagement with Local Insights

As the European elections approach, the manifesto urges the EU to recognize and utilize the strength of urban areas. It promotes the idea that transformative change in Europe emerges from local initiatives and community-driven projects.

You can read the full document here.