View more on these topics

EU ministers convene in Bristol for sustainable communities talks

Ministers from 29 European countries arrive in Bristol today with the common goal of improving quality of life for 450 million citizens across Europe by creating more sustainable communities where people want to live and work.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott is hosting the two-day meeting of EU ministers, with Danuta Hubner, the European commissioner for regional policy, Peter Sedgwick, the vice president of the European Investment Bank, and representatives of the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions.

Ministers will share experience and expertise to help deliver the EU’s goals of full employment, sustainable growth, decent public services and better quality of life across Europe, while aiming to reduce regional economic and social disparities.

Ministers will also discuss ways of delivering Europe-wide regional policy through an integrated and balanced approach to creating more sustainable communities in a rapidly changing global economy.

It is anticipated the first day of the meeting will end with an agreement to provide a framework of key ingredients through which communities of all sizes across Europe can be made more sustainable, and to share good practice examples – to be called the “Bristol Accord”.

Prescott says: “I believe creating sustainable communities is a big idea for a bigger Europe. It is about achieving better places for all European citizens. We all know people across Europe recognise the ingredients of a sustainable community. Europeans have been creating outstandingly successful towns and cities for over 2,000 years. Yet somehow we lost our way.

“During the 20th century, millions of people gave up living in cities. They left for the suburbs – driven out for a variety of reasons including poor education, the fear of crime, and the domination of the motor car. But we have begun to learn from our mistakes.

“Here, in Britain, cities like Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle have created an urban renaissance. People feel a real sense of pride in where they live. We’re taking our city centres back from the motor cars, and giving them back to the pedestrians. We’re attracting people, homes and jobs back into town and city centres, by reusing old industrial assets like warehouses and waterways and by clamping down on out of town retail.

“We are not trying to impose solutions on Europe. Member states need the flexibility to pursue the right regional policies to meet their differing needs. But there should continue to be a shared policy framework for regional policy across the European Union, so that we continue to work towards shared goals, with an appropriate focus on urban areas.

“We need to promote new ideas, new money and new partnerships to create more successful – more sustainable – towns and cities. I hope what we achieve in Bristol over the coming two days will lay a firm foundation of future progress and cooperation between EU states over the coming years.”

Bristol City Council has been working alongside the ODPM to organise the event. Barbara Janke, council leader, says: “We welcome EU ministers, their officials and the international media to our beautiful and historic city. For over 800 years, Bristol has been at the forefront of Britain’s international trade and relationships with the rest of Europe and this conference is an important recognition of the city’s continuing role at the heart of the European Union. ”

Recommended

GMAC-RFC completes sale

GMAC-RFC has completed its seventh portfolio sale to West Bromwich Mortgage Company.

Friends Provident and HBOS invest in Thinc Destini

Thinc Destini has attracted multi million pound investment from three major City institutions. . It approved the investment at an EGM last week, with Friends Provident and HBOS Financial Services valuing the company at 109m. In addition to this investment, Prudential has also backed the company with a multi million pound financial support package that […]

RBS creates single intermediary channel

Royal Bank of Scotland is to create a single intermediary channel for all its mortgage products under the banner of RBS Intermediary Partners. The move follows consultation with existing intermediaries and reflects their desire for a single point of entry to the Group for all the RBS mortgage brands – The One account, First Active, […]

Halifax and Nationwide to back Brown’s plans

Chancellor Gordon Brown will give details today of his plans to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder, including a shared equity scheme, backed by the Halifax and Nationwide.The scheme will encourage lenders and housebuilders to take a stake in first-time mortgages, so that young couples can get onto the property ladder.Brown is expected to […]

Thumbnail

Case study: administration — implementing a management log

Our client is a leading video game and publishing company best known for its console role-playing game franchises. The client provides a number of benefits, at varying levels and cost that attract a P11d liability. With the absence of a management log to track data for benefit movements, enormous administrative and therefore cost implications were occurring each year just to comply with P11d reporting requirements.

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up