Ministers from across the EU signed the Pact of Amsterdam today, putting the European Investment Bank at the heart of the drive to build sustainable communities through local and regional governments.
The Pact lays out the framework for the Urban Agenda for the EU, which directs EU institutions to work for better funding, regulation, and knowledge-sharing for local and regional governments. That’s important, because 70% of Europeans live in urban areas—a figure that’s expected to increase to 80% by 2050.
“The Urban Agenda of the EU is a blueprint for the economic, environmental, and social future of our cities and our citizens,” said European Investment Bank Vice President Jan Vapaavuori, whose responsibilities include urban development. “The Urban Agenda specifies the importance of the EIB in providing smart funding to our smart cities. The Bank is key to improving funding and knowledge-sharing for urban authorities across Europe. The EIB’s range of Urban Agenda services and products will be vital in accomplishing the aims laid out in the Pact of Amsterdam.”
The Pact specifies “the important role of the EIB,” the EU bank, in:
- financing investments in areas covered by the Urban Agenda, including the blending of grants and loans
- cooperating with the European Commission to develop financial instruments that improve funding for local and regional governments
- directing its urban lending, grant-loan blending, and advisory services toward areas covered by the Urban Agenda, thus supporting sustainable urban development
The Urban Agenda for the EU aims to stimulate growth and make urban areas better places to live. To get that job done, it promotes cooperation between Member States, the Commission, other EU institutions, and urban governments. For the EIB, a key partnership is with the European Committee of the Regions, the vital link between central EU institutions and hundreds of regional and municipal governments in all 28 Member States.
President of the European Committee of the Regions Markku Markkula said, “By involving all levels of government, the Urban Agenda will put the EU on a new track towards a more efficient collaborative culture that delivers results our communities expect. Local and regional authorities bear responsibility for 60% of public investment, but often this is not nearly enough to create truly sustainable and inclusive cities, which is why we need more public-private partnerships. The Committee will continue to work closely with the EIB to improve innovative investment and access to funding which is paramount.”
The EIB and the CoR worked together on “The EU Urban Agenda Toolbox,” an aid to local and regional governments seeking to learn how the two institutions can help build sustainable communities. Read the “Toolbox” and other information on the EIB’s projects in urban development at http://www.eib.org/urban
For recent articles about the Urban Agenda, including case studies in EIB urban lending and a list of the Urban Agenda’s policy themes: http://blog.eib.org/
Matt Rees, email@example.com, tel.: +352 43 79 84257