Public consultation is a regulatory process by which the public’s input on matters affecting them is sought. Now a new EU public consultation has been announced, that ought to help all great cities of the European Union in preparing the necessary Integrated Territorial Investment platform.
Following the news from a few days ago that the EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn has announced the public consultation for the EU Urban Agenda, it came to my mind that now is the right moment to put this news in the context of the already established EU legal framework regarding urban development issues. In this article, I will present additional details about the ITI platform, as well as a short overview of how Croatia is preparing the preconditions for the ITI.
In the new EU2020 strategy, a new integrating tool linking thematic objectives has been introduced. It is called the Integrated Territorial Investment platform and is shaped for obtaining up to 10% of the structural funds available for each EU Member State. The above-mentioned opening of public discussions on EU level should help in the process of preparing the Integrated Territorial Investment platform for each of the big cities in Europe.
The Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) have been introduced by the European Union as a tool to implement territorial strategies on the path to social and economic cohesion. The ITI allows EU Member States to bundle funding from several priorities of one or more Operational Programmes (EU programmes) to ensure the implementation of an integrated strategy for a specific territory. This is especially applicable to urban areas and cities, as it can only be effectively used if the specific geographical area concerned has an integrated, cross-sectoral territorial strategy. Here is a link to the EU´s fact sheet about ITI.
The ITI is a platform that allows EU Member States to implement Operational Programmes in a cross-cutting way and draw on funding from several priority axes of one or more Operational Programmes. To be able to perform on the ITI platform, the specific geographical area concerned has to have an integrated cross-sectoral territorial strategy.
How are the preconditions for developing the ITI platform set up in Croatia?
ITI is expected to be implemented in big urban agglomerations in Croatia that have the capacity to make a big impact with their urban development on the whole territory.
Additionally, it has been prescribed in the proposed PA, and according to the EU regulations, that a percentage of up to 10% of the available EU structural funds is directed to the sustainable urban development from the combination of funding available from the following EU funds: ERDF, ESF, CF.
The proposed Partnership Agreement for Croatia which is already in the evaluation process by the European Commission, describes that Croatian ITI will be based on competition between urban centres and would lead to selection of approximately 4 individual cities with their surrounding areas.
Those cities would then get the funding according to ITI for further urban development process. It is expected that urban centres which already form the polycentric backbone of the Croatian economic life would be those that will use the funding according to their ITI strategies, but at this moment the urban centres are still not decided upon and the most influential cities have to prepare their ITI strategies to compete for the funding.
The main reasons for using ITI mechanism in urban areas are according to the proposals in the Croatian submitted partnership agreement:
Concentration of economic, environmental, climate, demographic and social challenges affecting urban areas which can be faced more efficiently with active cooperation between local authorities, partners and the central government
Socio-economic potential which can be best exploited through improved coordination, partnership and integration of development interventions at territorial level
Greater availability of institutional capacity to deal with complex development challenges and realisation of potential
For actively participating in this process of implementing, tuning and assessing each of the EU Member States, ITI platform urban agenda calls all citizens, organisations and authorities to participate on an EU level public survey . The public consultation is open until 26 September 2014.