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INTI: Healthy & Wealthy togehther
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Participatory Democracy
(Woman, Enterprise, Employment in Local Development)
Intercultural Youth Panels
(Integration Exchange)
(Managing migration and integration at local level)
Urb Health
Women in Local Development

European Residents in Regeneration Network

This project aims at exploring original and innovative ideas of citizens' participation. It is being launched as an initial step leading towards new actions within a fully-fledged "Citizens for Europe" programme designed to contribute to addressing a major challenge of the European Union today, namely how to bridge the gap between citizens and the European Union.

Project Presentation
Project Management
ERRN Worskhop

Project Partners
Support our network
Key Documents
News and events

Project presentation

This project is developed within the "Europe for citizens" programme framework, which sets the following global objectives to be developed through different instruments and actions:

a) give citizens the opportunity to interact and participate in constructing an ever closer Europe, united in and enriched through its cultural diversity;

b) forge a European identity, based on recognised common values, history and culture;

c) enhance mutual understanding between European citizens respecting and celebrating cultural diversity, while contributing to intercultural dialogue.

Given the above context in relation to urban regeneration and the importance of citizens participation in creating sustainable urban development which will help secure the goals of the Lisbon Strategy, this project's overall aim is to establish the European Residents in Regeneration Network (ERRN) as a citizens platform that interfaces with key EU institutions and programmes which focus on urban development and exchange of experience, seeking to strengthen the voice of ERRN in EU Urban Policy.

To realise this, the project has the following specific objectives:

  • To establish 10 local regeneration forums (LRF), in project partner locations. Each LRF would bring together a minimum of 30-35 participants. Each Forum would also bring together a cross-section of local residents (women; older and younger people ; cultural /ethnic diversity ),
  • Each LRF would undertake a local consultation regarding key priorities for urban regeneration, first they should organise a local launch in order to promote the project locally,
  • The LRFs would discuss and agree about the implementation plan with all the partners, establishing a set of clear milestones,
  • All delegates from each LRF would participate in an online transnational capacity building and exchange of experience action learning programme,
  • 5 delegates from each LRF would participate in a transnational peer review and development workshop held in Brussels. The workshop would incorporate a meeting with key EU actors in relation to urban development. The working languages for the workshop would be English, French, Italian, and Spanish,
  • Establish an online exchange of information, good practice and resources for citizen participation in urban regeneration. This online platform would establish a space for interaction, debate and deliberation and would also include profiles of the participants in the LRFs to facilitate inter-citizen exchange.

Click here for project update (May 2007)>>


Project outcomes

This project would seek to deliver the following outcomes:

  • A capacity building programme that engages more than 300 citizens from 10 member states
  • Establishment of an on-going European in Residents in Regeneration network with membership in all member states
  • Establishment of ongoing links with the EP Intergroup on Urban Policy and Housing as well as the EC Inter services group on urban policy led by DG Regio
  • Creation of a unique online resource that incorporates:
      • Good practice case studies
      • Links to key documents and other web based resources
      • Profiles of participants in the European Residents in Regeneration Network
      • Online Forums
  • A report encapsulating the priorities of citizens in relation to urban regeneration to be presented to the informal group of ministers responsible for urban policy


Project Legal Context

Citizen participation and urban regeneration are key mainstreaming issues in the agenda of the European Union for the next Cohesion Policy period 2007-2013. Over the past 15 years, these two themes have been reflected in a number of key programmes and decisions:

The Urban Programme (1994-2006) which has targeted sustainable economic development and regeneration in the most deprived urban areas of the EU.

The actions of the French, Dutch and UK presidencies which have established an inter-ministerial group on Urban Policy and created a common framework on sustainable communities and set urban issues high on the EU political agenda.

The Council Decision in January 2004 supporting bodies working in the field of active European Citizenship was established for a period of 2 years (2004-2006)

In the same way, Commission Communication in 2004 established the European Citizenship issue as a priority for the enlarged EU.

In this line, DG Education and Culture carried out a public consultation at the end of 2004 and beginning 2005. This consultation was made in two steps (an online consultation and a consultation forum), and the result was a clear evidence of the support for a new action programme to promote citizen involvement in EU policies and programmes.

More recently, the Bristol Accord in 2005 endorsed by the informal meeting of the Ministers responsible for Urban Policy stated that "Sustainable communities enjoy, representative, accountable governance systems which both facilitate strategic, visionary leadership and enable inclusive, active and effective participation in urban regeneration policies".

Following this policy context, the Commission presented a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council in April 2005, establishing a programme called "Citizens for Europe" for the promotion of an active European citizenship for the period 2007-2013, which would be approved afterwards by the EP under the name of "Europe for citizens".

Alongside, the EP has established an Intergroup on Urban Policy and Housing, which has held a number of sessions and several of these have focused on the need to improve connection and communication with locally based actors. QeC-ERAN has actively participated in the Intergroup by holding joint workshops.

After a long debate on the working paper Cohesion policy and cities, a Communication from the Commission to the Council and Parliament was published in July 2006, which highlights the need to support and develop more effective citizen participation in urban regeneration policies.



Political context

In the European Union over 60% of the population lives in urban areas of over 50 000inhabitants. Apart from the two mega-poles of London and Paris, Europe is characterised by a unique polycentric structure of large, midsize and small cities. However, population is a relative criteria and sustainable urban development within Cohesion Policy is not only about big cities. A small town in a sparsely populated area plays a significant role in the regional economy.

The European Union will be most successful in pursuing its growth and jobs agenda, if all regions are able to play their part. Cities are essential in this effort. They are the home of most jobs, businesses and higher education institutions and are key actors in achieving social cohesion. Cities are the centres of change, based on innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth.

This is why policy at the national and European level needs to have an urban dimension, in order to promote the exchange of experience and best practice; to help overcome the market failures that underlie urban unemployment and social exclusion. To bring forward new investment that helps the urban areas to realise their full potential.

Sustainable urban development integrates economic, social and environmental goals with good public services. Local partnerships including public, private, voluntary and community interests are essential to deliver these "sustainable communities" as referred to in the " Bristol Accord".

The "Bristol Accord" (2005) endorsed by the Informal meeting of Ministers responsible for Urban Policy specifically included 8 key aspects that needed to be addressed in creating sustainable Urban development. One of these related directly to effective citizen participation. The Accord stated:

"Sustainable communities enjoy:

  • representative, accountable governance systems which both facilitate strategic, visionary leadership and enable inclusive, active and effective participation by individuals and organisations
  • effective engagement with the community at neighbourhood level, including capacity building to develop the community's skills, knowledge and confidence
  • strong, informed and effective partnerships that lead by example (e.g. government, business, community)
  • strong, inclusive, community and voluntary sector
  • sense of civic values, responsibility and pride".

Furthermore the post evaluation of the Urban programme 1994-1999 highlighted that the key factors affecting the success of implementation and management, in descending order of importance, were:

  • Participation of the local community in aspects of project selection, management and implementation.
  • Integrated and straightforward approaches to programme management and implementation.
  • Strong partnerships and cooperation.
  • Leadership in the day to day management and overall implementation of the programme.
  • Capacity and experience

However, alongside such positive recognition of citizen participation, the European Union is currently facing a paradox: despite the successes and achievements of the European Union since its creation, European citizens seem to have developed a certain distance towards the European institutions and to have difficulties in identifying themselves within the process of European integration. The low level of participation in the last elections for the European Parliament is a recent illustration.

Citizen participation is a democratic imperative - the engagement of local residents and civil society in urban policy can give legitimacy and effectiveness to government actions. These actors bring local knowledge as well as specific talents. They are best placed to organise actions in the local context and to cross formal institutional boundaries by their personal knowledge of local issues and key players.

Women often play a crucial role in urban development. They are key social and cultural mediators, intervening between service-users and institutions such as hospitals, schools and local administrations. Whilst they are often well-represented in community groups and as drivers in projects related to integration into deprived neighbourhoods, they are sometimes underrepresented when it comes to decision-making positions. Similarly, youngpeople are a vital element in community action. Facilitating their active participation atlocal level is a key political priority and an element of good governance.

However, community involvement often requires a certain degree of "capacity building", where the public sector actively encourages, trains and facilitates actors from the community and voluntary sectors. Community and residents groups frequently lack the resources of more powerful partners and hence must be empowered and supported by those partners. One specific point is training and equipping voluntary groups in the formal skills necessary to play a full role in project delivery.

The European Commission has identified three different types of responses to this problem, which are to be implemented by different initiatives of the Commission. First, there is a need for better information of citizens about European institutions and better communication on European issues in general. Second, citizens need to be fully aware, and make full use, of their rights as citizens of the European Union, as described in Article 17 of the EC Treaty, and of their fundamental rights under the Charter on Fundamental rights. Third, citizens should also be aware of their duties as citizen and become actively involved in the process of European integration, developing a sense of belonging and a European identity.



Project Management

Co-ordination of the project

The co-ordination team is QeC-ERAN, based in Brussels, as project co-ordinators they are responsible for the overall management and co-ordination of the project, including administration & financial management.

Contact details:




Tamara Hodas Garcia
Tel : +32 (0) 2 524 45 45
Fax : +32 (0) 2 524 44 31


Project Steering Group Meetings

First Project Steering Group Meeting

The First Project Steering Group Meeting will take place in Brussels from 3-4 December 2006.

Download documents:


ERRN Workshop

A central part of the ERRN project is the capacity-bulding workshop which was held in Brussels from 26 till 29 March. Four representatives from all the Local Forums came to Brussels in order to participate in this event, they had the opportunity to meet some members of the European Parliament Intergroup on Urban Policy and Housing, as well as EC and CoR officials from relevant DGs and Committees, and EU organizations based in Brussels. Read more>> and/or see workshop programme>>



Project partners

Centre Public d'Action Sociale de Charleroi (Belgique)

Citta di Torino (Italia) :

Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto (Portugal)

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki- Department of Psycology ( Greece)

North & West Belfast Health & Social Services Trust ( UK)

Comité de Quartier de l'Hommelet (France)

Rete Sociale Monti- Dipartimento di Studi Urbani- Universita Roma 3 (Italia)

Olmec (UK) :

Charlois (Holland):

Associacio CEPS per a la creacio i estudis de projectes socials (Spain)

The enlarged European Union presents a rich network of institutional, social and political relationships in which European citizens are the core actors to ensure a democratic development and integration of the EU, by an active involvement in the policies and decision-making processes.


Support our Network

We have created a network to sustain residents' participation in area based regeneration. Citizens' initiatives are developing and represent a new key feature in improving the situation in these areas. Urban Policy is getting more important in General Policy of the EU Members' preoccupations because of the worsening of the situation. Residents' participation contributes to a better understanding and recognition of local problems. This action needs to be supported and encouraged.

Members of the Residents in Regeneration Network

If you would like to register and become a member of the Network please send an email to and you will receive a registration form.



Key documents and related links

"Europe for citizens": provisional programme guide

Committee of Regions

Interreg IIIC Programme

Urbact Programme

DG Enlargement



Innovative actions for regional competitiveness


Targeted Summary of the Europeans Cities Report for Local Authorities


EU Summaries of Legislation


Your voice

European Urban Knowledge Network

EU Law

Centro de Documentacion Europea- Universidad de Valencia


DG Education and culture (Active European citizenship)

DG REGIO Urban policy

European citizens panel

Cities, Networks and Associations

Democratie Electronique

Research Center on Information Technologies and Participatory Democracy


Local Governments for Sustainability

Mundo Local

Citizens, involvement, Democracy

Citizenship, Participation and Accountability

Conseils de la Jeunesse


Participacion y Gestion Local

Place Publique

Tool Kit Participation


Capacitation citoyenne

Association pour la démocratie et l'éducation locale et sociale


Observatorio Internacional de la Democracia Participativa


News and events

Informal ministerial meeting on urban development and territorial cohesion - Leipzig , 24-25 May 2007

The German EU Presidency organises the informal ministerial meeting on urban development and territorial cohesion. The objective is to politically emphasise the social, cultural and economic importance of the European city.

Ministers responsible for urban and spatial development from the EU, accession countries and other neighbouring states will be invited to the meeting along with representatives from the European institutions and some non-government organisations. Two comprehensive documents which have been developed by EU member states, European institutions and non-government organisations, will be presented to the European Ministers for approval:

Europe for Citizens

The provisional programme guide for "Europe for Citizens" is now available on line. Read more>>

The 2007 Communication on culture

Opinion polls confirm that Europeans are generally concerned about the speed of economic and technological change, as well as the phenomenon of globalisation. They feel a loss of identity and often have a sense of disconnection from the European Union.

Against this backdrop, there is a growing recognition that the EU must bring itself closer to the citizen and that art and culture can make an important contribution. Indeed, art and culture offer an inspiring way of looking at reality. They can provide a more human dimension to the integration project, a so-called "Soul for Europe".

In this context, the perception and role of culture in the EU is gradually changing. Whereas, in the past, the question was what Europ could do for culture, there is a growing recognition that culture lies at the heart of the European project and has a unique and indispensable role to play. It is therefore increasingly necessary to also ask what culture can do for Europe.

The Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) is preparing a Communication on culture which seeks to address these issues. To participate in the consultation:



Open Days 2006 - European Week of Regions and Cities, Brussels 9-12 October

10e Rencontres de la democratie locale, Dijon 20-21 Octobre