Budapest Forum 2023 - Keynote speech – Elisa Ferreira: Direct European funds for Cities



  • Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms

Main takeaways

  • Amidst the crises we live in (climate crisis, energy transition, digital revolution, economic crisis, our democracies are being challenged), it is important to to maintain our sustained well-being.
  • Cities are the actors to design and spearhead responses. European cities (both large and small) represent approx. 70 percent of European CO2 emissions and 75% of its population. Therefore, cities are the frontline in the green, digital transition, and in the just transition. „Green roots must be the grassroots.”
  • Local authorities and cities are key to make local areas liveable and for local people/communities to thrive.
  • To transform all the systems (mobility, energy etc.), cities need support because noone can manage transition alone. The European Commission is dedicating 8 percent to cities.
  • There were discussions about the future regarding the Cohesion policy (after 2027): 1) Urban development is one of the keys for overall development. 2) They must help cities. 3) Medium sized and smaller cities have a critical role to play. They connect as both catalysts and corridors of growth.

Policy recommendation

Essential roles of local authorities:

  • Local ownership - to mobilize local stakeholders; them acting as a bridge between European and national level on the one hand, and ordinary citizens, on the other.
  • Tailoring actions – every place is different. Making policies place-based. To integrate urban development into wide strategies.
  • Democratic legitimacy: representation of different voices at different levels so that every voice should be heard and noone is shut out.