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European Capitals of Culture: In search of the perfect cultural event

28-11-2019

Between 1985 and 2019, 60 cities have held the title of European Capital of Culture – most recently Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria in 2019. Initiated in 1983, by Greece's then Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the concept took shape two years later as an inter-governmental initiative under the name of the 'European City of Culture'. The success of the event was such that in 1999, the Council of the EU transformed it into a Community action, and created a more transparent rotational system ...

Between 1985 and 2019, 60 cities have held the title of European Capital of Culture – most recently Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria in 2019. Initiated in 1983, by Greece's then Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the concept took shape two years later as an inter-governmental initiative under the name of the 'European City of Culture'. The success of the event was such that in 1999, the Council of the EU transformed it into a Community action, and created a more transparent rotational system for the designation of the titleholder. The selection procedure – last modified in 2014 – places particular focus on the monitoring of proposals, the enhanced European dimension of projects, improved competition between candidate cities, and the redefinition of the selection panel role. As more and more cities enter the European Capitals of Culture race, substantial sums of money are being spent, including on the bidding process. While in the early years of the programme (1985 1994) the average operating budget was around €25 million per city, this amount has more than doubled to reach some €60 million per city for the period 2007-2017. With rising budgets, there is also increased scrutiny of cities, national governments and the EU, as to the wider benefits in terms of the cultural development, social cohesion and city image that most bids promise. This, in turn, has led to more frequent and sophisticated monitoring and evaluation of the whole process, both by the European Commission and by the host cities themselves. The symbolic celebration of European cultural identities is however closely tied to the economic success of the operation. According to experts, over time a number of conflicts and tensions have become apparent due to the multiple and sometimes contradictory objectives of the event, e.g. economic and cultural, to name just two. Additional criticism includes failure to enable local ownership, difficulty in overcoming social divides and exhaustion of local resources. Notwithstanding that, ex-post evaluations of the event show that in general it boosts economic growth and tourism, helps build a sense of community and contributes to urban regeneration.

EYE event - Sustainable city: Global picture, local colour

16-05-2018

Cities, home to most of the world's people and growing rapidly, are often where environmental problems both emerge and are resolved; they are where the fight for global sustainability will be won or lost.

Cities, home to most of the world's people and growing rapidly, are often where environmental problems both emerge and are resolved; they are where the fight for global sustainability will be won or lost.

THE ROLE OF CITIES IN THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

06-10-2017

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, examines the role of cities in the institutional framework of the European Union and shows their limits and opportunities to engage effectively in policy-making at the EU level.

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, examines the role of cities in the institutional framework of the European Union and shows their limits and opportunities to engage effectively in policy-making at the EU level.

Autor externo

Prof. Dr. Hubert HEINELT, Institute of Political Science, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany

Delivering the Urban Agenda for the EU

26-09-2017

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policymaking. To help ...

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policymaking. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 communication on the urban dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicated broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. The European Parliament also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue, as part of a process that would ultimately lead to the signing of the Pact of Amsterdam on 30 May 2016, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda. With eight urban partnerships now in operation and the members of the remaining four announced in April 2017, past months have seen visible progress in terms of delivering the Urban Agenda, with recent developments including the setting up of a permanent secretariat for the Urban Agenda and the publication of background papers by four partnerships, with their action plans expected soon. This process looks set to expand further following the 2016 UN Habitat III conference in Quito, which identified the Urban Agenda for the EU as the main delivery mechanism in the EU for the UN's New Urban Agenda, a roadmap for global sustainable urban development.

European Capitals of Culture broaden their reach

07-06-2017

In June 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal to allow more European countries to join the European Capitals of Culture. An agreement was reached in interinstitutional trilogue negotiations, and the agreed text is due to be voted by the Parliament during the June plenary.

In June 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal to allow more European countries to join the European Capitals of Culture. An agreement was reached in interinstitutional trilogue negotiations, and the agreed text is due to be voted by the Parliament during the June plenary.

Launch of an Urban Agenda for the EU

02-06-2016

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. Within the EU, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level. At the same time there have been increasing calls for concrete action and the development of an Urban Agenda to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in the process. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public ...

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. Within the EU, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level. At the same time there have been increasing calls for concrete action and the development of an Urban Agenda to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in the process. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 Communication on the Urban Dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicated broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. The European Parliament has also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue as part of this process, which was adopted at the September 2015 plenary session. The revised 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding. With the launch of Urban Innovative Actions and the introduction of the first four urban partnerships, recent months have seen both a strengthening of the cohesion policy framework and the first concrete action towards rolling out the Urban Agenda. Building on this momentum, the Dutch Council Presidency put forward an ambitious roadmap for the first half of 2016, which led to the signing on 30 May 2016 of the Pact of Amsterdam, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda for the EU. This briefing is an update of an earlier one published in March 2016.

EU Urban Agenda – State of play

25-02-2016

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. Within the EU, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level. At the same time there have been increasing calls for concrete action and the development of an EU Urban Agenda to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in the process. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched ...

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. Within the EU, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level. At the same time there have been increasing calls for concrete action and the development of an EU Urban Agenda to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in the process. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 Communication on the Urban Dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicate broad support among city stakeholders for an EU Urban Agenda. The European Parliament has also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue as part of this process, which was adopted at the September 2015 plenary session. The revised 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to increase the role of cities in cohesion programming and implementation and thus enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding. With the launch of Urban Innovative Actions and the introduction of the first four urban partnerships, recent months have seen both a strengthening of the cohesion policy framework and the first concrete action towards rolling out the Urban Agenda. Building on this momentum, the Dutch Council Presidency has put forward an ambitious roadmap for the coming months, which should lead to the signing in May 2016 of the Pact of Amsterdam, a binding political commitment to deliver on the promise of an EU Urban Agenda. This briefing is an update of an earlier one published in July 2015.

The Role of Cities in Cohesion Policy 2014-2020

15-09-2014

Urban regions are an important factor in regional development. During the 2007-2013 programming period, the main input provided by cities and urban areas was at project level. For the 2014-2020 programming period, Cohesion policy enhances the role of urban areas. Nevertheless, in practice the role of cities still seems similar in scale. As the programming phase is almost completed, there is now limited scope for further influence on the design of the new programmes. The next opportunity to involve ...

Urban regions are an important factor in regional development. During the 2007-2013 programming period, the main input provided by cities and urban areas was at project level. For the 2014-2020 programming period, Cohesion policy enhances the role of urban areas. Nevertheless, in practice the role of cities still seems similar in scale. As the programming phase is almost completed, there is now limited scope for further influence on the design of the new programmes. The next opportunity to involve cities will be as part of partnerships during the programming period.

Growth and sustainable urban development

10-01-2013

Two-thirds of the EU population live in urban areas where environmental, economic, demographic and social challenges are amplified. The EU has made a strong political commitment to sustainable urban development which is reflected through specific instruments and actions financed in the framework of current and future Cohesion policy.

Two-thirds of the EU population live in urban areas where environmental, economic, demographic and social challenges are amplified. The EU has made a strong political commitment to sustainable urban development which is reflected through specific instruments and actions financed in the framework of current and future Cohesion policy.

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