Ljubljana, 29 November 2021 (TDI): Andrej Vizjak, Slovenian Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, presided over the virtual informal meeting of ministers responsible for urban development on 26 November.

With the endorsement of the Ljubljana Agreement, all ministers upheld the continuation of implementation by the EU for the Urban Agenda. Slovenia’s efforts to engage small and medium-sized communities in policy-making and cooperation were a huge success.

Minister Vizjak stated that “Slovenia will support the implementation of the Ljubljana Agreement and the Urban Agenda for the EU, and actively include Slovenian towns and cities into multi-level cooperation while striving to provide Slovenian towns and cities and other stakeholders with information about the events, initiatives, and activities regarding the development of cities at EU level through its national contact point.”

Furthermore, he added, “The Ljubljana Agreement highlights the importance of the Urban Agenda for the EU and makes up a political commitment to taking it forward.”

Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, was also present at the informal meeting.

Elisa Ferreira, the European Commissioner for cohesion and reforms, also attended the virtual informal meeting and shared her remarks

She stated, “I’d like to thank the EU Presidency Trio of Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia for their tremendous efforts to renew the Urban Agenda through both the New Leipzig Charter and the Ljubljana Agreement. The Urban Agenda must be a catalyst for launching discussions and concrete solutions for better sustainable urban development at all levels. This is true in particular for the green transition, with cities being examples and role models for the broader region and must therefore exert leadership, including clean transport and energy efficiency.”

EU Urban Agenda

EU policies and legislation are crucial for the development and growth of European cities and the way cities operate affects the successful implementation of EU policies. In 2016, the EU Urban Agenda was established to improve the quality of life in urban areas. It is composed of representatives from European regions and cities, as well as member countries, the European Commission, and other European institutions.

These seek common solutions to improve and implement urban policies and to reach national or European agreements. It can achieve 70 percent of EU policies at the local level. It involved Slovenia with six of the 14 partnerships, which began with the initial generation.

Ljubljana Agreement

Ljubljana Agreement preserves the Pact of Amsterdam and introduces new solutions to increase the effectiveness of Urban Agenda Europe. It continues to remove barriers that cities face in the fields of regulation, funding, and knowledge.

It includes 14 areas of cooperation and four additional topics, including Urban Greening, Sustainable Tourism, Food, and Cities of Equality. Moreover, it invites citizens in 2023 to discuss issues of development using the New Leipzig Charter (2020) principles to create fair and productive cities.

Green Dimension of Urban Development

Ministers also discussed the green dimension of urban development. They emphasized the importance and value of cooperation under EU Urban Agenda Partnerships. Slovenia’s presidency presented a two-year overview of communications related to the Urban Agenda Partnerships. These partnerships play a key role in the improvement of EU legislation.

Germany presented the Three4Climate Project. They completed it in less than a year. All three Presidency Trio countries’ schools and cities were present at the event. Therefore, the project had two purposes: to raise awareness and to create action plans for carbon neutrality transition. Portugal, the country which committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 within five years, also shared its efforts.