Cities in the New EU Countries
On 1 May 2004, ten new countries joined the European Union. This expansion has been the biggest the EU has ever undertaken. In this report the focus is on cities, urban problems and urban policies.
The new EU countries have some things in common, but also show many differences. One of the most significant developments for eight of the ten new EU countries is their transformation at the end of the 1980s from state-socialist countries to more or less capitalist countries. These radical changes have led not only to positive developments, but also to the emergence of problems that were formerly unknown in these countries.
The report is a study of KPMG on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations.
The ten countries in this report have been members of the EU since 1 May 2004. Several country chapters have made it clear that EU membership cangenerate important advantages for cities and their metropolitan areas. When more EU money becomes available for urban development and for combating urban problems, these new states will no doubt apply for it at once.
As in Western Europe, the cities in the new EU countries are often important engines of their respective national economies. Local government authorities usually appreciate very well that, to become economically more important, they need to improve the physical and social infrastructure of the metropolitan area and revitalize rundown urban areas, such as the large panel-technology estates and derelict industrial sites. The call for a nationally-organized urban policy comes from the authors of some chapters in the report, but also from the local governments of major cities in the new EU countries.
In several countries the present power of local government authorities is obstructed by fragmentation, a lack of coordination, and a straightforward lack of money. From the sustainability viewpoint, it might be useful for local governments to plan new developments in or close to cities in order to limit car traffic and pollution and to preserve attractive areas, such as woods and lakesides.
Dutch Minstry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Report | Cities in the New EU Countries
17 May 2006, pdf, 2MB