The well-attended event saw various regional, national and European institutions participating in an interactive panel discussion: the necessity for knowledge exchange and European cooperation in addressing urban challenges.
‘Now, with the EUKN assembly and chair officially installed, the
organisation can focus on creating new pathways for collaboration
and knowledge exchange on urban issues.’, Mart Grisel stated. He
went on to say that the launch is a “rebirth”, since there had been
many obstacles on the way to achieving EGTC. Mr. Grisel’s speech
focused on the relationship between policy making and knowledge,
and how EUKN can help to create new synergies between stakeholders
on each end of this relationship. In conclusion he thanked the
Dutch Interior Ministry in his opening remarks for supporting EUKN
since its original launch in 2004.
- Mr. Frequin Director-General Housing and Construction,
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations from the
Netherlands: ‘cities and city-regions are not only the
economic engine of our countries but also the places where most of
the social problems our societies face arise. In other words, urban
regions are where problems and solutions come together. More
networking and knowledge are needed that look at these issues from
an urban perspective, and EUKN EGTC is an organisation which can
provide the basis for this.’
- Ms. Charlina Vitcheva (Director Inclusive Growth, Urban
and Territorial Development and Northern Europe, DG Regional and
Urban Policy, European Commission) sees the organisation
as a prime example of successful intergovernmental cooperation.
While the launch event was a cause for celebration, Ms. Vitcheva
also warned that resources need to be spent efficiently in order
for the EUKN ETGC to be a success.
- Gerhard Stahl (Secretary General of the Committee of
the Regions), welcomed EUKN to the growing ETGC family
(currently made up of 31 organisations): ‘Cities are key to the
continuous achievement of smart, sustainable and inclusive economic
growth. It is therefore important that Member States combine
efforts to disseminate and share their findings on urban policy.
EUKN EGTC can become a reliable partner in achieving this.’
The interactive panel discussion was moderated by Mark Frequin. Emmanuel Moulin (Head of the URBACT Secretariat), Frederic Saliez (UN Habitat), Matteo Malvani (Head of the INTERACT Secretariat) and Mart Grisel were the participating panel members. Rik Baeten (Head of Unit Urban Policy, Federal Public Service for Social Integration, Belgium and Chair of the EUKN EGTC) closed the event with words of thanks to all of the persons who had played a part in helping EUKN get to where it is today.