European Recovery and Resilience Facility

| Subject: International Relations

The EMA discusses the role of metropolitan areas in managing this instrument

Sessió online

On 28 October, the European Metropolitan Authorities EMA Network organised an online political meeting to discuss the role of metropolitan areas in managing the €750 billion provided through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, approved on 21 July, and the major opportunity this instrument represents for the recovery of metropolitan territories.

Debate participants included the vice-president of the AMB Area for International Relations and Cooperation, Ernest Maragall, along with politicians and technicians from 17 metropolitan areas in 10 European Union countries. In addition to the AMB, the other participating metropolitan areas were: Milan, Turin, Bratislava, Helsinki, Toulouse, Lyon, Paris, Nice, Katowice, Krakow, Warsaw, Lisbon, Porto, Budapest, Thessaloniki and Derry City and Strabane (a region in Northern Ireland).
In efforts to convey their importance –many metropolitan areas are not taking part in the project selection process– and their key role in the territory's recovery, the participants agreed to draw up a joint document that outlines the main areas of investment and the added value brought by large cities and metropolitan areas.

The fundamental role of metropolitan areas

The vice-president of the AMB Area for International Relations and Cooperation Department, Ernest Maragall, opened the meeting by pointing out that "these are highly complex times", and "the European Union funds allocated for recovery and resilience could be a great opportunity to transform our metropolitan territories and enterprises, generating jobs and security networks for the people most in need."

Thanks to this meeting, numerous conclusions were able to be drawn, all of which underscore the fundamental role that metropolitan areas, together with large cities, are playing in the management of the COVID-19 crisis. For this reason, and because they bring significant added value by channelling resources toward areas such as energy transition, digital transition, health, transport, education, support for SMEs and even social inclusion, the metropolitan areas represented at the meeting contend that they are at the forefront of the administrations' response to the COVID-19 crisis, although they often lack the resources and authority needed to take action. And these resources, they affirm, cannot wait.

The AMB, in this regard, is currently identifying the projects that will be presented to the European Union's Recovery and Resilience Facility. All projects focus on the energy transition and the environment, the digital transition and economic recovery and involve all 36 metropolitan councils as well as other actors.

The participants in the EMA's political meeting believe that the €750 billion the instrument will provide represent a great opportunity for the recovery of these territories. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the metropolitan areas present at the meeting have stated that they are to taking part in preparing national programmes or in the project selection process. 

In efforts to highlight their importance and central role, the participants agreed to prepare a joint document outlining the main areas of investment and the added value brought by large cities and metropolitan areas, in accordance with the priorities of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. This document will be sent to the European institutions (Commission, Parliament, Council and Committee of the Regions) to bring the issues to their attention so that they might be considered prior to approval of the national plans.

The next EMA political meeting will take place in 2021 and, as announced this past Wednesday by the vice-president of the Porto Metropolitan Area, Margarida Belém, will be on the topic of transportation.

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