Fair competition and smooth single market benefit cities

Fair competition and smooth single market benefit cities

The Helsinki metropolitan area is the engine of Finland’s economy, and cities are the engines of the EU economy. Nearly a quarter of the EU’s GDP is produced in the union’s metropolitan areas. The most educated people across the continent are found in metropolitan areas. Although the entire economy cannot be based on cities and services, the connection between urbanization and productivity is obvious and well-known. Therefore, the attractiveness of metropolitan areas and other cities is a directly integral part of the overall competitiveness of the EU, writes Atte Harjanne, a Green MP, Helsinki city councilor, and EU election candidate, in his blog.

From the perspective of cities, perhaps the most important EU policy is ensuring smooth single market. This means continuing to dismantle barriers to free trade and returning to a healthier line regarding state aid instead of competition among member states for subsidies.

Certainly, business subsidies will continue to be distributed in the future. The key is to ensure that EU funds are allocated as much as possible based on expertise and fair competition, and that support is implemented precisely at the EU level without disrupting internal markets.

Currently, subsidies are also distributed based on various regional political reasons. From an economic standpoint alone, this is usually not an efficient use of funds. Instead, the most effective investment would be where the best return on euros is achieved. For reasons other than economic ones, it is justified to allocate funds in other ways, but the implemented policy should not weaken the position of European metropolitan areas in the global competition for talent, investments, and general attractiveness.

The EU is much more than just cities, but thriving cities are a central part of the EU’s economy and sustainability.

In addition to smooth internal markets and cost-effective subsidy policy, transportation and connectivity, technology policy regulation, improving the functioning of capital markets, and climate and nature policies affecting construction are also crucial for cities. In all these cases, the perspective of cities and metropolitan areas should always be considered.

Intercity and intracity transportation connections are important, and technology policy must enable the creation and flourishing of innovation ecosystems. Climate and nature policies must avoid sub-optimization. Energy efficiency requirements must not hinder emission-free solutions, such as cleaning district heating systems with nuclear district heating, nor should well-meaning urban greening lead to suburban sprawl instead of dense rail-oriented urban areas. Cities can and should be an essential part of solving the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. Avoiding sub-optimization requires smart and careful regulatory preparation.

The EU is much more than just cities, but thriving cities are a central part of the EU’s economy and sustainability. Therefore, the importance of cities and metropolitan areas should be understood in the European Parliament and Commission. It doesn’t take anything away from anyone but makes us all more prosperous.

This article was translated by AI and revised by a person. The original Finnish Article can be read here