Metropolitan regions in EU cohesion policy

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Series Details PE 642.218
Publication Date October 2019
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Metropolitan regions currently include three fifths of the EU population – a proportion that is expected to increase in the future. These regions constitute important poles of innovation, research and economic growth, while also offering a wide variety of educational, cultural and professional opportunities to their inhabitants. Nevertheless, metropolitan regions face a number of important challenges. As they are composed of urban, sub-urban and even rural areas, they require a multidimensional policy approach to help them tackle their complex issues.

One of the major issues that metropolitan regions usually face is the lack of an efficient, inter-connected transport system. Environmental pollution, a major problem in many such regions, is inextricably linked to transport (exacerbated by the high number of commuters), high energy consumption and waste creation. Metropolitan regions usually constitute poles of population growth and have to cater for the integration of their newly arrived citizens. In certain cases, the increasing demand for accommodation leads to a lack of affordable housing and an escalation of rental and property prices; this problem has worsened in many urban areas of the European Union in recent years. In addition, although metropolitan regions may be hubs of economic growth, they also house big numbers of poor and homeless people.

Yet again, a number of de-industrialised EU metropolitan regions are suffering severe economic losses. The EU is addressing the needs of metropolitan regions through a number of funds and tools, most notably the European structural and investment funds. Other EU instruments, such as the Urban Agenda for the EU also provide opportunities for metropolitan regions.

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