The Urban Agenda
for the EU

Better Regulation | Better Funding | Better Knowledge

The Urban Agenda for the EU represents a new multi-level working method, for urban policy and practice, promoting cooperation between Member States, cities, the European Commission, and other stakeholders.

It was launched in May 2016 with the Pact of Amsterdam and reconfirmed as a valuable initiative in November 2021, with the Ljubljana Agreement. In the 2021–2027 period, support to the Urban Agenda for the EU is provided under the European Urban Initiative.

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What are the objectives of the Urban Agenda for the EU?

In the Pact of Amsterdam, the Ministers responsible for urban matters affirm that:

UAEU objective 1 UAEU objective 1

The Urban Agenda for the EU aims to realise the full potential and contribution of urban areas towards achieving the objectives of the Union and related national priorities in full respect of subsidiarity and proportionality principles and competences.

UAEU objective 2 UAEU objective 2

The Urban Agenda for the EU strives to establish a more effective integrated and coordinated approach to EU policies and legislation with a potential impact on urban areas and also to contribute to territorial cohesion by reducing the socioeconomic gaps observed in urban areas and regions.

UAEU objective 3 UAEU objective 3

The Urban Agenda for the EU strives to involve Urban Authorities in the design of policies, to mobilise Urban Authorities for the implementation of EU policies, and to strengthen the urban dimension in these policies.

Download the Pact of Amsterdam, available in 5 languages (EN, DE, FR, PT, SL).

What is the scope of the Urban Agenda for the EU?

The Urban Agenda for the EU scope is threefold. It focuses specifically on three pillars of EU policymaking and implementation:

BETTER regulation

The Urban Agenda for the EU focuses on a more effective and coherent implementation of existing policies, legislation, and instruments. The Urban Agenda for the EU will not initiate new regulation but will be regarded as an informal contribution to the design of future and revision of existing regulation, notably at EU level, in order for it to better reflect urban needs, practices and responsibilities. It recognises the need to avoid potential bottlenecks and minimise administrative burdens for urban authorities.


    The Urban Agenda for the EU will contribute to identifying, supporting, integrating, and improving traditional, innovative and user-friendly sources of funding for urban areas at the relevant institutional level, including from European structural and investment funds (ESIF) (in accordance with the legal and institutional structures already in place) in view of achieving effective implementation of interventions in urban areas. The Urban Agenda for the EU will not create new or increased EU funding aimed at higher allocations for urban authorities. However, it will draw from and convey lessons learned on how to improve funding opportunities for urban authorities across all EU policies and instruments, including Cohesion Policy.


      The Urban Agenda for the EU will contribute to enhancing the knowledge base on urban issues and exchange of best practices and knowledge. Reliable data is important for portraying the diversity of structures and tasks of Urban Authorities, for evidence-based urban policy making, as well as for providing tailor-made solutions to major challenges. Knowledge on how Urban Areas evolve is fragmented and successful experiences can be better exploited. Initiatives taken in this context will be in accordance with the relevant EU legislation on data protection, the reuse of public sector information and the promotion of big, linked and open data.

        What are the thematic Partnerships?

        Thematic Partnerships are the key delivery mechanism within the Urban Agenda for the EU. They include representatives from various governmental levels and stakeholders. As of October 2023, there are 18 Partnerships.

        The Thematic Partnerships have been launched in several steps since 2016:

        Partnerships timeline

        Copyrights : European Commission, Urban agenda for the EU Multi-level governance in action (Report 2021)

        On 26th of October 2022 the representatives participating in the DGUM meeting in Prague approved the Partnerships on Sustainable Tourism and Greening Cities. The Thematic Partnerships on Food and Cities of Equality were endorsed by the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in October 2023 (This graphic will soon be updated).

        Which organisations have already been part of the Urban Agenda for the EU?

        The organisations that have already been involved in Urban Agenda for the EU are indicated in the following map (with the exception of those related to the Sustainable Tourism and Green Cities Partnerships).

        Partnership UAEU maps

        Copyrights : European Commission, Urban agenda for the EU Multi-level governance in action (Report 2021)

        Download the interactive map


        What do Partnerships do?

        The thematic Partnerships are defining and then implementing the Actions defined in the Action Plans.

        In summer 2017, the first draft Action Plans from the pilot Partnerships were shared in a Public Feedback, informing the creation of the final Action Plans. This process of consulting the public was repeated by all 14 Partnerships and is an important milestone in the process of developing their Action Plans.

        All the finalised Action Plans can be viewed here.

        EUI Support Services to the Partnerships

        One of the objectives of the European Urban Initiative (EUI) is to provide support to the Urban Agenda for the EU as indicated in the Pact of Amsterdam and Ljubljana Agreement and further detailed in Annex 1b) to the Contribution Agreement between the Commission and the Region Hauts-de-France (see section 4, page 33).

        The factsheet summarizes the Support Services Package that is offered by the EUI Permanent Secretariat on behalf of the European Commission in the 2021-2027 funding period to the members of the UAEU Thematic Partnerships. The Support Services comprise: Administrative Support (Thematic Partnership Officer), Initiation Phase, Provision of Expertise, Travel and Accommodation Support for Urban Authorities, Communication and Dissemination Support, and Creation of Synergies for the UAEU. 

        < DOWNLOAD the FACTSHEET >

        What are the key documents of the Urban Agenda for the EU?

        Please follow the links to view the key documents and resources to the Urban Agenda for the EU:

        Are there more videos about the Urban Agenda for the EU?

        Yes. You can see more videos on our Youtube channel.

        Discover the Urban Agenda for the EU (CITIES Forum 2017) on YouTube