25 January 2024

40 EU cities come together in Brussels to call for an ambitious future EU urban policy

Yesterday, ICLEI RexCom Members Aalborg (Denmark) and Antwerp (Belgium), as well as ICLEI Europe Regional Director Wolfgang Teubner took the stand at a high-level event discussing the future of the EU urban policy with 40 of Europe’s biggest cities, hosted by Perspective Brussels, the urban planning agency of the Brussels-Capital Region.

The conclusions of the discussions were captured in the “Brussels Declaration of European Mayors” to advance “a European urban policy fit for the future”. The declaration, supported by major European cities and city networks, is calling for a more “binding dialogue and involvement of local governments at European level, including better integration and coordination of urban matters, as well as accessible and urban-friendly EU funding”.

Through six recommendations to EU and national decision makers, the declaration aims to set the groundwork for an ambitious European urban policy in the next European political mandate 2024-2029. These include, amongst others, recommendations for establishing a more binding dialogue and involvement of local governments at the European level; deeper integration of urban matters at the European level; more urban-friendly EU regulations; more accessible and urban-friendly EU funding.

"With our summit, we want to encourage European institutions to listen better to cities and let them co-decide on European policies…” stated Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism and European Relations Ans Persoons ahead of the event. As chairman for urban policy of the Belgian Presidency, the Brussels Capital Region will relay the Declaration’s messages during the country’s Council presidency and chairing of EU ministerial meetings.

ICLEI has been cooperating with Perspective Brussels on the event’s afternoon parallel roundtable on “Beyond Growth: Shifting paradigm, going beyond growth: what model and indicators for future-proofed cities?” intending to carry the messages forward to the “European Conference of Sustainable Towns and Cities” in Aalborg in October 2024.