EU Policy Areas/Activities
The Future of European Regional Policy
- Developing a Suitable Urban Dimension
The programming period for the Structural Funds (2000-2006) approached its mid-point during 2003 and, throughout the European Union and in the Accession States, debate about the future of EU Regional Policy post 2006 was gaining momentum.
The European Commission launched a debate on this issue with a series of progress reports and conferences held in 2003. During this year the Commission also published the 3rd Cohesion Report, setting out the working framework for the future of EU Regional Policy post 2006.
The Dublin Regional Authority actively contributed to this policy debate by preparing a Position Paper, which sought to identify the key strategic development and policy issues affecting the Dublin region and the role that EU Regional Policy can continue to play. The Paper outlined a number of general principles, which the Authority considered essential for the reform of EU Regional Policy and made a number of more specific recommendations on the need for an appropriate urban dimension.
This Position Paper was submitted to Commissioner Michel Barnier, at the European Commission; Minister Charlie McCreevey, Department of Finance; Government Ministers and the T.D.s operating within the Dublin region. An Cathaoirleach, Councillor John Stafford also met with Minister Tom Parlon, Minister for State at the Department of Finance and presented him with a copy of the Paper and set out the key points raised.
The Dublin Regional Authority, in its Position Paper, supported the general approach of the European Commission with the publication of the two Progress Reports on Economic and Social Cohesion and the series of consultations it has undertaken. The Authority stated also that it would welcome clear recommendations on the role of urban areas in EU Regional Policy, from the Commission in its Third Cohesion Report in December and in this regard a number of recommendations were set out, including:
|The Dublin Regional Authority proposes the inclusion of a strong urban dimension in the future EU Regional Policy, given that many of the problems faced by city regions require an EU-wide response, as well as the contribution of urban areas to regional development and cohesion. The Authority considers that the inclusion of such a dimension will better facilitate the EU's objectives set out in the Lisbon agenda, by using urban areas as catalysts.|
|The Dublin Regional Authority proposes, as a minimum requirement, a better-resourced URBAN community initiative, with a wider focus. However, the Authority considers that this is not sufficient in itself, and is therefore open to the urban dimension being better addressed in all elements of EU Regional Policy, including future Objective 1 and non- Objective 1 programmes.|
|The Dublin Regional Authority considers that the urban dimension in EU Regional Policy maybe addressed effectively using global grant mechanisms and the Authority encourages the Commission and Member States to explore this possibility.|
|The Dublin Regional Authority further supports the mainstreaming of the urban dimension into other EU policy areas, such as transportation and social policy. Furthermore, the Authority considers that EU legislation, state aids policy, loans as well as grant programmes should be mobilised to support national and regional efforts to promote sustainable urban development.|
|The Dublin Regional Authority proposes that the INTERREG community initiative be continued but with more simplified procedures, to allow all local and regional authorities to fully participate. The focus on co-operation under INTERREG should also be widened to include local economic development, urban regeneration, EU growth poles and city networking, local service provision and cultural and urban heritage.|
|The Dublin Regional Authority proposes the establishment of an All-Ireland Programme under EU Regional Policy, which would support cross-border initiatives, enhance development arrangements under the peace process and in particular enhance the development of an economic corridor between Dublin and Belfast. The Authority would also welcome a continuation of the Ireland-Wales Maritime programme and its wider application.|
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