The contribution of European urban policy to social citizenship: being urban citizens also means being European citizens

In 2016, the cities of Madrid, Brussels and Paris brought actions before the General Court asking for the annulment of a regulation on the Euro 6 emissions. It should be noted that it is not the first time that cities are involved in cases of European significance. Cities are able to fight for a better balance of economic rights (negative freedoms) with social or environmental rights (positive freedoms) in favor of urban citizens, such as Europeans or third countries, as residents or city-users. Aside from the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice, it is now possible to observe a sui generis EU policy in urban matters, thanks to the framework provided by the Urban Agenda for the EU (2016). This means that the EU recognizes cities and their networks as relevant actors in European governance and that “urban” and “integrated” sustainable development is a priority. This particular policy can help create a sense of belonging to a common set of values and principles.