Cities in the EU recovery process: Localizing the Next Generation EU

CIDOB Report 09_anglès
Publication date: 12/2022
Agustí Fernández de Losada and Ricardo Martinez (eds.)
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CIDOB Report nº 9

The unprecedented €672.5 billion funding of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the main instrument of Next Generation EU, constitutes a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a just green and digital recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities are the arena where the success of these recovery measures will be decided. 

With 75% of European citizens living in cities and subnational governments currently implementing 70% of EU legislation, addressing the transformations the European institutions propose without considering public policies implemented by city governments and efficient multilevel governance mechanisms is a major challenge. Cities across Europe are bringing innovations to stimulate energy efficiency in buildings and the use of clean technologies and renewables; to promote sustainable transport; and to accelerate digitalisation processes while enhancing access to broadband services. They are the best guarantee of ensuring just transitions and that no one – and no territory – is left behind. 

This CIDOB Report reviews the role of cities in the Next Generation EU funds in the following member states: Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Spain. It also includes a non-EU urban perspective on the recovery from the United Kingdom (UK). By offering a broad view of the diversity of experiences across Europe, the report distils key learnings that enhance the knowledge of and capacity to harness the urban dimension of the recovery process.

The report is the first step in a multi-year project carried out by the Global Cities Programme at CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs), in partnership with Eurocities and with the support of Barcelona City Council. The detailed analyses and insightful takeaways in the report form part of a wider endeavour that aims to closely monitor the implementation of the RRF at local level. The ultimate objective is to provide policy analysis and recommendations to bolster the empowerment of cities in the EU’s green and digital recovery process, thereby contributing to the localisation of Next Generation EU.

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Key words: cities, COVID-19, crisis, Next Generation funds, MRR, recovery, Europe