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The priorities and role of metropolitan areas in the process of preparing the national programmes of the European Resilience and Recovery Mechanism Fund and the future Cohesion Policy Programmes 2021-2027
Political representatives of 17 European metropolitan areas from 10 European Union countries met this morning for the annual political debate of the European Metropolitan Authorities (EMA). The meeting was attended by: Milan Metropolitan City, Torino Metropolitan City, Bratislava Region, Helsinki-Uusimaa Region, Toulouse Metropolis, Lyon Metropolis, Paris Metropolis, Nice Metropolis, Silesia Metropolitan Region, Warsaw, Krakow Metropolitan Association, Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Porto Metropolitan Area, North West Urban Region, Thessaloniki, Budapest and Barcelona Metropolitan Area.
Main conclusions of the meeting:
Metropolitan areas and large cities are at the forefront of mitigating the pandemic of COVID-19, despite the frequent lack of resources and skills to do so adequately. We are currently experiencing the health, economic and social effects of the second wave of the pandemic, with much pressure on the public system and finances.
The 750 billion euros of the European Recovery and Resilience Fund, approved by the European Council on 21 July 2020, represent a great opportunity for the recovery of our territories. The vast majority of the metropolitan areas that attended the meeting stated that they are not being offered the possibility to participate in the preparation process of national programmes or in the selection of projects, both regarding the Recovery and Resilience Fund and the new Cohesion Policy 2021-2027. However, some interesting participations experienced by metropolitan governments from Finland, Italy and Portugal stood out.
The participating metropolitan areas are preparing projects in areas such as energy and digital transition, health, mobility and transport, education, support to SMEs, social inclusion, etc. for a large volume of resources. However, clear and direct communication channels are lacking for reaching both national and regional governing bodies, regarding when and how these very important and urgently needed funds will be made available.
The meeting participants agreed to the preparation of a joint document highlighting the main investment lines and the advantage of including large cities and metropolitan areas in the priorities of the Recovery and Resilience Fund. This document will soon be sent to the European Institutions (European Commission, European Parliament, European Council and Committee of the Regions) for their consideration before the approval of the National Plans.
The Vice-President of the Porto Metropolitan Area presented the next edition of EMA's political meetings, to be held in 2021, under the theme of transports.