August 26, 2009
Have your say on formalising local & regional invovlement in EU governance
Having recently adopted a White Paper on Multilevel Governance setting out a vision of how the EU decision-making process needs to evolve, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) has now commenced a process of consultation with Community Institutions and the wider public in order gather opinions and observations on the best way to achieve this goal. This is especially timely as another 5 year cycle dawns in Brussels with a new parliament now in place and the Commissioners, as well as the COR members, set to be renewed later this year.
The White Paper is based on a governance model which better involves local and regional authorities in the formulation and implementation of Community policies and includes some examples intended to illustrate good practice in multilevel governance at EU level.
Comments may be submitted up to 30 November to firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by iroronan at August 26, 2009 02:10 PM
August 20, 2009
Locally managing migration
A new policy paper from 19 members of the Eurocities network has called for local authorities to be given a greater say in the development and monitoring of immigration strategies. 'Cities and Economic Migration: challenges and local policy responses' is a contribution to the Commission’s ‘Stockholm Programme’, launched earlier this summer as a proposal for a common framework on how Member States should deal with immigration, asylum and integration over the next five years, and set to be debated by Justice Ministers in the autumn.
The paper describes current migration trends and their impact on cities which reach beyond the labour market to encompass a range of areas for which local authorities may have responsibility. These include promoting social inclusion; combating discrimination and racism; ensuring political participation; planning accessibility and transport; communicating migrant issues with both the established and newly-arrived communities; the need to develop institutional links with the migrants' countries of origins; and the need to carry out accurate research to reflect the actualities of these cumulative local-level effects.
Based on a collection of good practices in this field, the study offers a toolkit for cities that wish to improve their economic migration policies. Among the key observations are the need for practical measures taken at the local level to be designed in a sustainable way, rather than as one-off interventions; and for civil society organisations, notably migrant groups and NGOs, and, where appropriate, businesses, to be closely involved in the development of actions and strategies.
The need to view human mobility in terms of its potential to contribute to long-term positive demographic replenishment and, more immediately, to economic productivity, are underlined in the study. On the latter point, national and European authorities and employers are urged to work with cities to recognise migrants’ skills and professional qualifications, and to develop these further, including through making access to language training easier and cheaper and by clamping down on unethical labour exploitation. In terms of the adequacy of support available to achieve proper social inclusion for migrants, the paper warns that greater provision should be made for the integration of intra-EU migrants. It is suggested that this would require a reorientation and simplification of some EU support programmes such as the Integration Fund which is currently exclusively focused on non-EU nationals.
Posted by iroronan at August 20, 2009 01:38 PM
August 20, 2009
Sustainable Urban Development: new reports on Public-Private Partnerships and on Energy Management
Eurocities have published (23 July) the main conclusions and case studies discussed at the most recent workshops of their URBAN MATRIX project which is designed to create a knowledge transfer platform to provide local authorities in in developing solutions to complex Sustainable Urban Development issues with the necessary expertise.
The workshop on "Public-Private Partnerships & Sustainable Urban Development" was held in Malmo on 27/28 April whilethe event held in San Sebastian in December 2008 addressed "Energy Management for Sustainable Cities".
Posted by iroronan at August 20, 2009 09:53 AM
August 07, 2009
New local energy action supports
ELENA (European Local Energy Assistance), the technical assistance facility launched by the Commission and the European Investment Bank under the EU Covenant of Mayors initiative and within the budget of the Intelligent Energy - Europe (IEE) Programme, will be operational during the second half of 2009. ELENA will assist cities and regions in developing their sustainable energy investments projects and mobilising investments. EUR15 million will be provided to local authorities for financing their technical assistance costs associated with the development of eligible municipal investment projects or programmes contributing to the overall EU energy targets. Sustainable energy projects eligible under ELENA can focus on a variety of sectors, such as retrofitting of public and private buildings, sustainable building, energy-efficient district heating and cooling networks, or environmentally-friendly transport.
Meanwhile, a second phase of ManagEnergy, the European Commission initiative to support the work of actors working on energy efficiency and renewable energies at the local and regional level through information, training, workshops, online events and networking, has been approved. A new tender is due to be launched in August to enhance the ManagEnergy website and to further develop the services provided to public authorities, their energy agencies, and other local and regional actors in urban and in rural areas. Services will be adapted to address the implementation of the Climate Change & Energy Package 2020 targets - providing technical support; working with local decision makers and to mobilise investment for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects; and organising capacity building workshops. The fully functioning network, which will welcome new membership applications, should be up-and-running by the end of this year - in the meantime a scaled-down website will continue to be available.
This approach will complement the Covenant of Mayors and the Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign. The number of structures supporting the Covenant continues to grow with the Energie-Cites and METREX (Network of Metropolitan Regions and Areas) networks recently joining the fold. Their support is expected to add the commitment of many new local authorities to the commitment to step up the effort in reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing cleaner and more efficient energy.
Posted by iroronan at August 7, 2009 10:18 AM
August 04, 2009
New EU business support network for Midlands
WIN Atlantic has been established as a new business support network with the aim of helping SMEs and innovative start-up companies build a presence across European markets and expand their business network throughout France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The network's Irish activities will be centred on the Midlands whose Regional Authority will coordinate a strategic approach also involving support agencies including WESTBIC and the local County Enterprise Boards.
The network is funded through the INTERREG IVC (Atlantic area) initiative and membership is free to companies who meet the qualifying criteria. It will provide enhanced networking opportunities to companies located in the participating regions and support them in the development of their business throughout Europe. WIN Atlantic is particularly interested in working with businesses in the Information Communications Technology (ICT), Biotechnologies and Energy/ Environment sectors.
SME applications to get involved in the proposed activities are welcomed. The advantages to network members include the opportunity to receive part finance to attend and participate in local, national and European events or propose their own events, networking opportunities, information on business funding opportunities, and access to information essential for operating in one of the partner countries.
Posted by iroronan at August 4, 2009 05:34 PM
August 04, 2009
BMW Region Gateway & Hub Development Fund
The Border, Midland & Western (BMW) Regional Assembly is to directly manage the allocation of a new EUR17m EU funded capital grant assistance fund available to that region's 5 National Spatial Strategy Gateways (Dundalk; Galway; the Midland Gateway of Athlone-Mullingar-Tullamore; Letterkenny; and Sligo) and 5 Hub Towns (Ballina; Castlebar; Cavan; Monaghan; and Tuam).
This fund, which is allocated from an advance payment of the EU Structural Funds to Ireland, will provide maximum grant assistance of EUR2m per Gateway and EUR1.4m for each Hub Town. Local Authorities applying for support are required to provide 40% non-borrowed match funding from their own resources. Priority will be given in the appraisal process to projects which have a strong economic development rationale with good job creation prospects, and which best encompass and demonstrate appropriate urban design, innovation, appropriate scale and cost effectiveness.
Potential types of capital projects include: urban infrastructure, physical regeneration and renewal, including redevelopment of brown-field sites, sustainable energy and transport initiatives, arts and culture facilities, and the development of cultural and built heritage sites. Activities must be completed by the end of 2010.
Deadline: 20 August
Posted by iroronan at August 4, 2009 11:38 AM
August 04, 2009
Temporary halt to ESF match funding needs; rural housing renovation now eligible?
As flagged up in May's Bulletin, and as announced in the Communication ''A shared Commitment for Employment'', adopted in early June, the European Commission has now published a proposal for a Council regulation for simplifying management rules for cohesion policy in light of the current economic crisis. The measures proposed include the possibility for Member States to abolish the obligation of co-financing requirements for European Social Fund (ESF) projects for the period 2009-10 on the basis that these will be repaid in the following years when normal co-financing arrangements will be restored. This measure would thus not modify the overall ESF budget and its allocation among the Member States.
Among the other suggestions is the possibility of using European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for financing projects renovating or developing housing for communities faced by social exclusion, both in rural and urban areas. Previously it was possible to use resources from the ERDF only for renovating housing in urban areas. The proposal will now need to be approved by the European Parliament and Council.
Posted by iroronan at August 4, 2009 11:01 AM