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Celebrating the new status of EUKN with a festive event in Brussels

On December the 12th 2012 The European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN) organised a special launching event to celebrate its new European legal status as an EGTC (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation). This new status gives EUKN a stronger legal basis for cooperation between intergovernmental networks and communitarian programmes. The event was held in Brussels at the office of the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the European Union. Mart Grisel (Director of the EUKN ETGC) chaired the event.

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.


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