Urban development in EU programmes

EU Member States cooperate in many areas of urban policy. Cooperation and programmes at EU level cover such themes as sustainable urban development in the cohesion policy, development of urban networks and knowledge exchange, support for innovative urban development and strengthening of urban research at EU level.

The Member States and the European Commission have reinforced urban policy through the Urban Agenda for the EU, adopted by the EU ministers responsible for urban matters in Amsterdam during the Austrian EU Presidency in 2016.

The Urban Agenda for the EU aims to achieve closer cooperation between the Member States, the Commission, cities and other actors to develop urban regions. It is an integrated and coordinated approach to develop new ideas and ways to develop EU legislation, policies and financing instruments to better meet urban needs and to introduce more efficient exchange of knowledge in selected urban development themes.

There are 12 dedicated Partnerships focusing on concrete urban development themes. Finnish partners (cities or ministries) are involved in seven Partnerships. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, together with the Ministry of the Environment, is responsible for the networking of Finnish partners and for national communications regarding the Urban Agenda for the EU.

The EU’s URBACT programme aims to encourage cities to share their positive development experiences, learn from each other and reinforce their development expertise. URBACT is designed to enable cities to participate in networks of other European cities. It is one of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes. The national contact point for URBACT in Finland is Spatia Centre for Regional Research.

The 6AIKA strategy is a set of urban development programmes where the six largest cities in Finland work together to develop more open and intelligent services and solutions. Its main objectives are open innovation platforms, deployment of open data and interfaces, and open participation and customer relationships. The 6AIKA strategy supports the implementation of Finland’s structural fund programme for sustainable growth and jobs 2014–2020 and the attainment of the EU’s sustainable urban development target.

Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is an initiative of the European Commission that provides funding for European cities so that they can experiment with and develop innovative solutions for urban challenges. Two Finnish cities have joined the initiative.

Further information: olli.voutilainen(at)tem.fi