As part of our Cities4Europe campaign, Cluj-Napoca held a citizens' consultation on 28 February to discuss the future of the European Union's cohesion policy.
The City Hall of Cluj-Napoca together with a EUROCITIES representative invited experts, citizens and young people to discuss the cohesion policy of the European Commission. Its goal was to extract a series of proposals, to be forwarded to EUROCITIES, for steps that could be taken to develop a better cohesion policy and a better European future for communities. The meeting was hosted by Ovidiu Cîmpea, local development director of the Cluj-Napoca City Hall and coordinator of the Cluj Innovation and Civic Imagination Centre.
At the end of the consultation, the panel put forward three recommendations:
1. To reduce the gap between urban and rural local development for metropolitan areas. This could involve, for example, extending the practice of combined support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) for urban regeneration projects beyond the 10% threshold and by extending the intervention mechanism through local action groups in rural areas to neighbourhoods of cities and metropolitan areas.
2. To have a real and functional policy of merging regulation of operational programmes so that cities can experience a relevant change in the level of effort currently needed to implement European funded programmes.
3. To make more use of available participative tools to bring the benefits of cohesion policy closer to the beneficiaries in member states. There could, for example, be local level participative processes to encourage projects and ideas by organising calls and, once the most relevant projects are selected, the local administration should have access to European financing to implement them.
These citizens' proposals, together with those from other panel events taking place across Europe until the end of February, will be presented at the second mayors summit on the future of Europe on 20 and 21 March 2019.
As part of the mayors summit, which will take place two months ahead of the European Parliament elections in the presence of more than 100 city politicians, EUROCITIES and the European Commission will present the panel results to national and European political leaders.