Affirming the importance of territorial co-operation when implementing European policies, supporting the consideration of the urban dimension in the different structural fund programmes, debating on the future of
the Cohesion Policy; these were the main challenges at the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities General Assembly, to held on 30 June and 1 July in Niort (France). This year the General Assembly was being organised by the AIRE 198 network, a player and tool at the service of sustainable development which includes the project coordinating cities and urban agglomerations of Poitou-Charentes. This partnership will be a chance to show the mushroom effect and the importance of cooperations and networks, above all in the
implementation of European policies and the affirmation of the urban dimension as a true factor of development of EU.
Bringing forward together a common vision on EU challenges is even more important when the European Commission has launched, after publishing its fifth report, a dialogue about the Cohesion Policy and its future in the period from 2014 to 2020. The report concludes on the proven efficiency of the policy, concerning job creation and improving of environment and life quality in related territories. There are, however, also notes about necessary improvements in the field of collaboration among local players, the involvement and association of regional and local entities, the concentration of investment in more environmentally-friendly transport and the reform of the assessment system.
As elected representatives, we must seize the opportunity to manifest our support for maintaining a European cohesion policy and the awareness on Atlantic Arc as a whole. In a context of world economic crisis, social and territorial cohesion topics become main issues for Europe. Means to be used should be developed, especially structural funds as they enable an undoubted leverage in the application of local policies. Social cohesion and proximity, territorial cooperation and local partnership, Atlantic Arc and urban dynamics are vital topics that we should defend together to build the future European Cohesion Policy.
Chairman of AIRE 198
City Council of Angoulême -Chairman of Grand Angoulême