Cities of Tomorrow – Investing in Future, Brussels 17-18 February 2014

António Santos da Costa, Mayor of Lisbon, Giorgos Kaminis, Mayor of Athens, Sorin Mircea Oprescu, Mayor of Bucharest, and José Manuel Barroso (from left to right)Mayor Oprescu attended on February 17 2014, in Brussels, a new edition of the dialogue between the European Commission and the mayors of the capital cities of the European Union member states.

The meeting brought for the second time at the same table mayors of Athens, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Helsinki, Lisbon, Ljubljana, Luxembourg, Madrid, Nicosia, Rome, Sofia, Stockholm, Tallinn, Valletta, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw and Zagreb . The meeting was initiated and hosted by the Urban and Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn and the Director General of DG Regio, Walter Deffa.

DSC_0055During his video welcome address, President  of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso emphasized the importance of the EU Urban Agenda and the need for its development in close cooperation with the mayors of European capital cities.

The meeting, held under the title “CITIES – Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe” come to acknowledge the support and involvement that capital cities wish to provide in the implementation of the development goals of  the “Europe 2020” Strategy, this being subject to a review process in the next period that will include the findings resulted from the completion of the EU Urban Agenda.

In his speech, mayor Oprescu emphasised that adoption of the EU Urban Agenda will represent a first step towards the improvement of the quality of life of the European citizens. “In my opinion, the European Urban Agenda should be adopted immediatelly as a pragmatic document for the development of the European Union. Lets not forget that this agenda should be lore than a vision, it should be our mission for a better Europe . “ said the Mayor.

Present at the meeting, Mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupl, wanted to highlight the importance of this dialogue, the Urban Agenda being the result of several rounds of discussions held in the past. However, “without an implementation plan, without a plan of action, Agenda risks to become another document forgotten in a drawer. We want to stress out the importance of maintaining this dialogue open even after the European elections this year, since cities and capitals were, until recently, rather ignored in the decision-making process at EU level. ” said Haupl.

Johannes Hahn thanked the participants at the meeting and expressed his confidence that, with the direct contribution of those present at the meeting, “things will not remain at the stage of simple words. Urban Agenda is an important pillar for the future  and for the Europe 2020 Strategy. Even if at this point, the only concrete result that has been achieved is the allocation by national governments of 5% of the development fund for the capital cities, I believe that the European Union shall recognize the importance of capital cities and this should be reflected in all future EU policies” said EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

DSC_0011Present at the event, the General Coordinator of CODCR,  Mr. Peter Langer and the Secretary General, Mr. Eric Bartha, had an official meeting with the delegation of Sofia Municipality led by General Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and vice-mayor Todor Chobanov, and addressed the official invitation for the City of Sofia to join the CODCR and also for Mayor Fandakova to become Member of the Presidium.

In conclusion, participants at the meeting expressed their desire for the continuation of this dialogue on a permanent basis and therefore the next working session will be held in Rome, following the invitation of Mayor Ignazio Marino.

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