28 April 2023

Newly signed protocol supports municipalities realise the New European Bauhaus objectives

The call, 'Support to the New European Bauhaus Local Initiatives', launched and funded by the European Commission through the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policies, provides Technical Assistance (TA) to small and medium-sized municipalities in order to make the New European Bauhaus (NEB) a reality on the ground.

The "Network of Villages for the Future" is one of 20 projects receiving Technical Assistance within the Support to the NEB Local Initiatives. The project is led by the Municipality of Pampilhosa da Serra (Portugal) and integrates six villages of the cross-border EUROACE region: Alentejo, Central Portugal, and Spanish Extremadura. Last Friday, on April 21st, a public event in Coimbra, co-organised by the project owners Rui Simão, Lídia Martins and their respective teams, took place when the "Network of Villages for the Future" was formally constituted.

The cooperation protocol was signed by the Mayors of the six municipalities involved (Pampilhosa da Serra, Sabugal, Reguengos Monsaraz, Arronches, Moraleja, and Llerena) and marks an important milestone for the New European Bauhaus EUROACE Network of Villages of the Future. At the signing, the City Council of Pampilhosa da Serra, the lead partner of the NEB Pampilhosa project, assumed the presidency of the Network until the end of 2024. The coordinator of the TA Team ICLEI’s Daniela Rizzi, also had the opportunity to present the Conceptual Framework, which integrates the feedback from six local stakeholder workshops performed in the villages.

The NEB Pampilhosa project aims to seek answers to three major challenges, which are faced across the board by rural areas, and in particular by villages:

  • demographic loss
  • loss of economic, social and cultural value
  • and the digital and ecological transition

These constraints are widely known. Jorge Custódio, Mayor of Pampilhosa da Serra, stated that this NEB project "has to click and make a difference", adding that for this purpose, both "regional and national" support is needed. "We are all aware that even if the municipalities can take some measures to minimise these impacts, it is not enough. There has to be a stronger hand from the central governments so that we can reverse this trend," he expressed.

In the closing speech of the event the Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, assured the "commitment" of the Government to "accompany and support this network of villages," namely through the creation of strategies that allow the "Funds of the Cohesion Policy, of Horizon Europe, of the Life Programme," among other financial instruments, "to reach the territories. The new inhabitants want to find villages with good services, and we have to find this balance," noted Abrunhosa.

The event showcased interventions from an impressive lineup of policy makers, politicians and experts, reflecting the challenges and opportunities for the villages and their territorial cooperation, taking into account NEB pillars: Sustainable, Together and Beautiful.

ICLEI Europe is among a group of organisations leading the execution of this initiative funded by the European Commission through the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policies.