An exchange of experience and ideas on the role of European funds in the urban transformation of cities in Europe took place in Lugo, in the framework of the Interreg Europe EURE project. It was an occasion for the project partners to discover the projects developed by the Galician city under its Integrated Sustainable Urban Development Strategy.

After a long period marked by online meetings and virtual study visits, the EURE project partners could finally travel and get together for the project’s latest set of events on 24 and 25 November 2021. The Atlantic Axis of Peninsular Northwest (Eixo Atlántico), Lead Partner of the project, hosted the representatives of the whole consortium and the project’s experts in Lugo, Spain. These two busy days included several events, namely the 7th Thematic Seminar entitled “EURE – Urban policy of Spain and Integrated Sustainable Urban Development Strategy”, Study Visits, a Steering Committee Meeting, a Meeting of the Pool of Experts and Joint Meeting.

The Alcaldesa of Lugo and vice-president of Eixo Atlántico, Lara Méndez, welcomed the nearly fifty participants of the Thematic Seminar, highlighting the value of this international meeting which is another step towards the project’s goal of exploring ways “to optimise the management of funds that are helping to transform cities”. Participants shared the experience gained in their cities and debated on how to improve the efficiency of European funds to support urban interventions, for which a call for proposals is expected to be launched next year.

The Thematic Seminar was followed by a study visit in Lugo, one of the most active cities in Galicia when it comes to European projects, and Pontevedra to provide relevant examples of how small cities can bring added value in terms of sustainable urban development and be part of the global transition towards a more sustainable and less polluting urban planning of the future. The Muramiñae-da Muralla ao Miño and Lugo Life+Biodinamic projects, presented to the EURE partners in Lugo, both prove that European funds can effectively support urban, social, and economic transformations. In this very case, they contributed to break the accessibility barriers of the urban fabric with the river and to promote a new mobility, where people are the central axis of the changes. In Pontevedra, the EURE partners learnt more about the transformation of the O Gorgullón district, the improvement of the market of Abastos, and the opening of the bridge O Burgo only to pedestrians. The visit also included the re-urbanisation of the Virxe do Camiño and the round-about of Compostela.

"Lugo is an interesting city as it brings together the Roman urban intervention, of great value and which still survives, a notion of change and growth from its position of alluvial city, and European projects for the future. Thus, it is one of the cities of reference for its international projection, which is already recognised, but also because it represents an evolution from World Heritage to a sustainable heritage for future generations.” commented Xoan Vázquez Mao, secretary general of Eixo Atlántico, during the study visit to Lugo.

Cities of A Coruña and Pontevedra also presented their good practices of sustainable urban development to the EURE partners, as well as to the participants coming from other cities having developed Integrated Sustainable Urban Development Strategies such as Ferrol, Ribeira, Ponteareas, Ames, Lalín, Vilagarcía, Marín or Culleredo. The EURE partners brought additional insight from their countries: France, Belgium, Italy, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, and Romania.

Conclusions from the two-day event will be presented to both the Spanish Government and the European Commission as they are expected to bring fundamental insights on how to improve the different European funds that are so important for cities.

Presentations made during the thematic seminar are available on the event page.