Smart Cities: Europe’s opportunity

20 December 2013 Author: EIFonline

The Smart Cities and Communities: European Innovation Partnership (EIP) is a partnership across the areas of energy, transport, information and communication to catalyse progress in urban-centric areas where energy production, distribution and use, mobility and transport, and ICTs are intimately linked and offer new interdisciplinary opportunities to improve services while reducing energy and resource consumption, greenhouse gases and other polluting emissions.

The EIP follows the Smart Cities and Communities Initiative which was launched in 2011. This initiative initially only covered energy and had a budget of € 81 Million, which has grown  to € 365 Million and extended to include the transport and ICT sector with the launch of the EIP in July 2012. On 14 October 2013, the High Level Group of the EIP adopted a Strategic Implementation Plan to help drive the transformation of European cities into Smart Cities. The European Commission will launch an open invitation for ‘Smart City and Community Commitments’ in spring 2014. 

On Wednesday 18 December, the EIF hosted a breakfast debate on the European Innovation Partnership ‘Smart Cities and Communities', chaired by Lambert van Nistelrooij, MEP and EIF Governor, to address the way forward.

First speaker Paul Timmers, Director, Sustainable and Secure Society at DG CONNECT, European Commission, presented the European Innovation Partnership and the Strategic Implementation Plan. The plan outlines ideas on how to best harness innovative technologies, innovative funding mechanisms and innovative public private partnerships. It highlights actions needed to create the right framework conditions to make our cities better places to live and do business, and to reduce energy use, carbon emissions and congestion.  

Listen to Paul Timmers’ speech:

Harry van Dorenmalen, Chairman, IBM Europe, then presented his definition of the Smart City and stressed the importance of local political leadership to bring all actors to work together. He also underlined the essential role of business in realising the vision of smart cities across Europe.

Listen to Harry van Dorenmalen’s speech:

Jan Olbrycht, MEP and President of the Urban Intergroup of the European Parliament, was the last speaker. He noted that a city can only be smart when it belongs to networks and is working with many partners.  He stressed that the right mindset for creating smart cities is more important than money and technology. He also called for more coordinated policy and integrated funding and action from the EU institutions, particularly between the Digital Agenda and Regional policy

Listen to Jan Olbrycht’s speech:


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