European citizens are waiting for an answer to challenges including globalisation, climate change and migration, with the cities in the vanguard of such an answer, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu told the “Jump to Smart. 1.0. Smart City Romania” conference in Bucharest in a video message on Monday.
“The European Union is facing unprecedented challenges such as globalisation, climate change and migration. European citizens are rightfully waiting for a joint European answer to that, and I am glad that the cities are in the vanguard of such a European response. Cities are the engines of our common European future. That is why the Juncker Commission has invested so much energy in providing the cities with the necessary means to play this important part. That entails creating a genuine urban agenda for the European Union,” said Cretu.
She added that the agenda is designed to make sure the cities have a word to say and are closely engaged in drawing up and implementing policies in the European Union.
“The initiative regarding smart cities and communities included in the urban agenda is thought to support the projects moved by strong engagement on the part of the private sector and, implicitly, of the citizens. The projects tackle urban challenges such as energy transition, urban mobility, air quality and housing construction. The EU is providing funds in support of the projects promoted by the cities. In 2014-2020, 100 billion euros will be invested under the cohesion policy in urban areas, 15 billion of which will be directly managed by the cities. Moreover, 430 million euros have been extended under the Horizon 2020 programme for the smart cities and communities initiative. I am glad that Romanian cities have joined this European approach. Constanta is an example to the point, as it is taking part in the Portis project that tests sustainable urban mobility solutions in port cities,” added Cretu.
She said that the same is true about the Alba Iulia project designed for the implementation of innovative, smart solution compatible with smart lighting, smart mobility and also applications for tourism promotion such as free access to the Internet in public spaces.
“The same is the case with Bucharest City, where long-term solutions are being sought for traffic decongestion under a Create project, while an Urban Wing project, the winner of the Urban Agnda, is testing solutions to prevent and better manage waste,” said Cretu.