(Source: European Commission)
“Check against delivery”
My thanks to the organisers of this event. To our hosts, the Madrid school of architecture, to the Spanish government, and to Marcos Ros Sempere, honourable Member of the European Parliament.
There is no better illustration of the collaborative spirit of the Bauhaus than your joint organisation of this event. You bring together three very different walks of life, the political, the scientific and the cultural.
And Spain has been contributing to the multidisciplinary, collaborative, creative power of the New European Bauhaus from the very start of the initiative. You have the largest community, 64 of our 443 partners are based in Spain.
And you are already making a name for yourselves in terms of quality. In the first New European Bauhaus Prizes competition, 9 out of the 20 awards were won by projects in Spain. Proof of your capacity and creativity.
We need this enthusiasm and expertise.
Because the green and digital transformation of our economies and societies will transform our lives too.
This is why the New European Bauhaus is not just about better buildings, but about better lives. This is why we review all aspects of life from buildings and public spaces to products and services. From ecosystems to mind-sets and behaviours.
We mobilise design thinking and co-creation, and co-participation, to improve, not just quality of life but local identity. Our motto is “sustainability with style” and we need to make sure that this is not for the benefit of a few but an opportunity for the many.
And this is what you are doing here in Spain. You are developing a rich range of projects, from the health sector as a driving force for sustainable cultural and social transformation, to the refurbishment of former factories into green collaborative spaces.
I particularly welcome your work on spreading the knowledge, through collaboration between schools of architecture from six southern European countries – Portugal, Italy, Spain, France, Croatia and Greece. NEB Goes South was one of the very first initiatives, building on the common geographical and cultural legacy to bring more sustainability, beauty and inclusiveness to local communities thanks to education and open dialogue.
And cohesion policy is there to support you. Spain is the third biggest beneficiary of the new 2021-2027 programmes, with European investment of 36.2 billion euros.
I note with satisfaction that the New European Bauhaus has found a place in many of the strategy documents. We strongly encourage the Spanish authorities to include a direct reference in the Partnership Agreement and to support local and regional Bauhaus projects and initiatives with mainstream operational programmes.
I am also happy to see that many Spanish stakeholders, from the Ministry in charge of the Spanish Urban Agenda to regional and local stakeholders have started to embed Bauhaus principles in their daily work, finding synergies between national strategies, New European Bauhaus objectives and common European priorities. Such alignment is the best way to reap the full benefits and make this new movement a success story for our society!
I particularly encourage you to work on areas with high potential returns, such as building rehabilitation and renovation, energy efficiency, biodiversity, green infrastructure and the response to climate risks. I can only encourage you to create calls for cohesion projects in these areas. And to put people and their daily needs in the centre of such work.
We will support local stakeholders in 3 concrete ways.
First, through technical assistance to small and medium-sized municipalities, which lack the capacity or expertise for turning Bauhaus project concepts into reality.
Second, through an investment of 20 million euros in dedicated Urban Innovative Actions.
Third, through a dedicated financial instrument prepared in collaboration with the European Investment Bank.
In conclusion, Europe needs pioneers and trailblazers. Those who are not afraid to experiment and will point the way towards a future, which is not just greener, but more liveable and affordable for everyone. Sustainability with style, indeed.
I encourage you all to get involved, in collaborations, and in promoting local projects.
Please also vote for your favourite projects and ideas on the Prizes platform. And we invite everyone to vote for their favourite New European Bauhaus project!
I will have the pleasure, together with President von der Leyen, to announce the winners on 11 June, at the Bauhaus festival. Come to Brussels or follow the ceremony online, perhaps some of you among the audience have applied.
We are excited to see the growing number of excellent New Bauhaus examples across the EU, and especially such energy and enthusiasm in Spain – I wish you a creative and fruitful discussion today.
Thank you very much.