European metropolises make demands


| Subject: International Relations

The metropolitan authorities made demands in Turin during the EMA 2016 Forum.

The mayors, presidents and political representatives of European metropolitan areas have requested the EU and national and regional governments for official recognition to let them take the helms in the development, planning and execution of urban policies with European funds.

The demands were set out in the Turin Declaration, a document drafted in the second edition of the EMA Forum held on 12 February, under the organisation of Turin and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), which brought together some 30 European metropolitan areas in the Italian city.

The document, which will now be submitted to the EU, requests that metropolitan areas have a larger role in defining European policies, particularly in the European Urban Agenda that the Dutch EU presidency is debating. It was also decided that Lyon would be the host of the EMA 2017 Forum.

The AMB representative at the EMA Forum was Alfred Bosch, vice-president of the AMB International and Cooperation Area.

In his opening words, Turin metropolitan mayor, Piero Fassino, and Alfred Bosch pointed out that ‘the metropolitan dimension is increasingly more important for the development of states, but they do not give the metropolitan areas the recognition they deserve as generators of wealth, jobs and innovation, and the recipients of poverty, climate change, hosts of refugees, and so forth. If the gross domestic product of metropolitan areas is compared to that of their states, the increase of GDP in the former is larger than on a national scale. This means that metropolitan cities are the engines for economic and social growth'.

Alfred Bosch stated that ‘the metropolitan areas do not have enough weight in managing European Union structural funds' and gave the example of Barcelona, ‘which represents 10% of Spain's GDP, but only receives 0.15% of the funds that Spain receives'. He also commented that ‘the AMB will present a study shortly on the European funds under management by 14 large metropolises'.

Bosch emphasised the role that an institution like the AMB plays in providing municipal services on behalf of the city councils, and also explained the targets that the AMB has for the 2015-2019 term of office that are related to sustainable mobility, public housing, attracting investments and social and economic development by creating jobs.