communities was launched today by the deputy prime minister John
Summit in Manchester, Mr Prescott said he wanted to use the UK
presidency of the European Union to set up a new, Europe-wide
framework for creating places where people want to live.
Mr Prescott said this would provide a forum for exchanging views and
experiences across the member states. It would build on work already
taken forward by previous presidencies and could be particularly
relevant to Eastern European states that have recently joined the EU.
The idea received strong support from European partners during
discussions at the Summit yesterday, and Mr Prescott will use a
high-level meeting of European ministers, later this year, to
consider how to achieve sustainable communities in the context of
emerging regional policy.
Mr Prescott said:
'We are in a new era where East and West are coming together. There
is a new political order and a new commitment to do things
'There are huge challenges in the new Europe. The expansion of the EU
to form 25 nations with over 450 million people has brought together
two different political and economic traditions.
'The UK's presidency will be an opportunity to discuss a European
approach to creating sustainable communities. Such thinking could
create a new framework to consider the emerging regional policy.'
At the heart of Mr Prescott's initiative will be the UK's new Academy
for Sustainable Communities, which was launched at the summit, an
international event involving 2000 delegates, the largest of its kind
ever staged in the UK.
The academy will be based in Leeds and will be supported by a network
of regional centres throughout the country.
Mr Prescott added:
'The academy will be an international centre of excellence. I want it
to join forces with the Congress for New Urbanism in the United
States and other leading centres in Europe and around the world. It
will have a really strong European outlook and has huge potential for
developing new ideas and thinking on sustainable communities.'
1. The UK assumes the presidency of the EU in July this year. Mr
Prescott will be hosting an informal meeting of European ministers.
2. The new Academy for Sustainable Communities was a key
recommendation from the Egan Review of Skills. It will work with a
wide range of occupations and stakeholders to develop the integrated
skills needed to deliver places that people want to live and work.
3. Mr Prescott announced his decision to base the Academy in Leeds at
the Creating Sustainable Communities Summit in Manchester today.