MedCities has been selected for membership to the European Commission Structured Dialogue on theEuropean Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2014-2020).

The first ESIF meeting was held the 12 November in Brussels. This event represented the first meeting of the European Commission with the major European Networks representing the interests of local, regional and economic actors and civil society. MedCities participates to advocate for the Mediterranean cities’ interests and their fit with investment policies of the European Commission.

The aim of the meeting was to monitor the implementation of the Structural Funds and the European Investment for the period 2014- 2020, such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund, the European Social Fund (ESF), European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and theEuropean Fisheries Fund (EFF). The meeting was chaired by Mr. Mikel Landabaso, Cabinet Director of the Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy, and representatives of different General Directions of the European Commission, responsible for the implementation of these funds.

Based on the results of these meetings, the European Commission will submit an annual report to European Parliament to ensure accountability on the participation of the different actors in the implementation of this policy.

The main topics discussed were about the needs on economic recovery and innovation, the active involvement of the private sector from the beginning, the potential impact of interventions and the cooperation between public administrations, the business world and University, the focus on energy efficiency issues, employment, social inclusion, youth, among others..

Finally, there was a presentation of a study on the participation of economic and social actors in the preparation of the programming documents. The Council of European Municipalities and Regions is also preparing a study on the participation of local and regional governments.

At the end of the meeting, participants asked the European Commission to recognise this new workspace as the privileged observer of how the different member states are managing and implementing these resources. It was also suggested to share best practices and discuss about specific topics of interest.

Next meeting will be held during the first semester of 2015.