Thematic Clusters

Thematic Clusters

Inclusion of migrants and refugees

Inclusive education and training from early childhood to higher education, focusing on faster recognition of qualifications and language learning, with support from EU funds.

Improving employment opportunities and skills recognition to fully value the contribution of migrant communities, and women in particular, and ensure that they are supported to reach their full potential. Labour market integration, support to entrepreneurship and recognition of skills are key priorities.

Dedicated EU funding to promote access to health services for people born outside the EU and opportunities for Member States to exchange best practice.

Access to adequate and affordable housing funded through the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund Plus, Asylum and Migration Fund and Invest EU, as well as funding platforms to exchange of experience at local and regional level on fighting discrimination on the housing market and segregation.

The Partnership of the Urban Agenda for the EU on the inclusion of migrants and refugees brings together cities, EU countries, the European Commission and civil society organisations to develop common actions to promote integration. The partnership and focused on three themes:

• EU regulation affecting the inclusion of migrants and refugees,
• better use and allocation of EU funding,
• better use of data/research.

The partnership put forward eight Actions, summarised in the final Action Plan presented in November 2017. They range from the protection of unaccompanied minors to better access to EU integration funding and desegregation in education.

Integrating circular economy and nature-based (including energy transition)

The EU's Action Plan for the Circular Economy

It is now part of the Green Deal – was adopted in 2015, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.
The EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The proposed actions will contribute to “closing the loop” of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy.

The revised legislative proposals on waste set clear targets for reduction of waste and establish an ambitious and credible long-term path for waste management and recycling.
The EU Partnership on Circular Economy was launched in 2017 and focused on three vertical themes:

• Urban resource management;
• Circular business enablers and drivers;
• Circular consumption

The partnership of Oslo, the Flemish Region, Kaunas, Porto, Prato and The Hague presented the Action Plan in December 2018.

The EU energy transition in cities

Large metropolitan areas that offer most economic opportunities are growing particularly fast. The resulting increase in traffic, industrial activity and infrastructure amplify environmental challenges. How cities grow and operate has a huge impact on energy demand as they account for 60 to 80% of global energy consumption and around the same share of CO2 emissions. By creating the pre-conditions cities and communities are the driving forces behind establishing innovative solutions, including positive energy districts, car, bike or ride sharing. Cargo bike deliveries are easiest to implement in cities where shorter distances allow for life without private car ownership. Cities are also key markets for electric vehicles. These concepts are increasingly part of urban planning, as they increase quality of life by freeing up public space, reducing noise, pollution, and accidents. The proximity of industrial facilities and buildings also allows for distributing waste heat from factories through district heating networks. Smaller heat networks fuelled by renewables, heat pumps, and cogeneration enable the creation of new, zero-carbon neighbourhoods. Increasingly, city governments are also asserting their growing relevance with decisions that influence policy-making at the national level. Examples include Paris’ ban on diesel cars in the city centre by 2030.
The EU Partnership on Energy Transition, led by the three cities of Gdańsk, London, and Roeselare, kicked off in September 2017. The Orientation Paper was published in October 2017. The Partnership uses three work streams to ide ntify and further develop the major fields of action:

• Energy supply, generation and storage
• Management and planning
• Energy consumption

The Partnership presented its final Action Plan in May 2019.

Air Quality

Air pollution has been one of Europe’s main political concerns since the late 1970s. The European Union has one of the world’s lowest indexes of air pollution . Nevertheless, the European Commission states that – per year – more than 400,000 people in the EU die prematurely due to the consequences of air pollution: this is more than 10 times the toll of road traffic accidents. Another 6.5 million people fall sick as air pollution causes diseases such as strokes, asthma and bronchitis. Air pollution also harms our natural environment, impacting both vegetation and wildlife: almost two-thirds of Europe’s ecosystems are threatened by the effects of air pollution.

As part of the European Green Deal, the EU is revising the Ambient Air Quality Directive, to align air quality standards more closely with the recommendations of the World Health Organization. An Inception Impact Assessment outlines the approach towards Commission adoption planned for the second half of 2022.

The directive provides the current framework for the control of ambient concentrations of air pollution in the EU. The control of emissions from mobile sources, improving fuel quality and promoting and integrating environmental protection requirements into the transport and energy sector are part of these aims. European legislation on air quality is built on certain principles. The first of these is that the Member States divide their territory into a number of zones and agglomerations. In these zones and agglomerations, the Member States should undertake assessments of air pollution levels using measurements, modelling and other empirical techniques – and report air quality data to the European Commission accordingly. Where levels are elevated above limit or target values, Member States should prepare an air quality plan or programme to address the sources responsible and so ensure compliance with the limit value before the date when the limit value formally enters into force. In addition, information on air quality should be disseminated to the public.

The EU Partnership on Air Quality, led by Constanta, Helsinki, London, Milano and Utrecht formulated four concrete topics of action:

• Modelling city-specific situations
• Mapping of regulatory instruments and funding
• Recommendations on air quality good practices
• Develop a guideline for cities’ air quality action plans

The Partnership presented its final Action Plan in 2018.