The action represents a second phase of the “International Urban Cooperation (IUC) Programme 1” with a view to taking forward and developing further the achievements of the first phase (2016 - 2020). It constitutes part of a long-term strategy to foster urban diplomacy as an important vehicle of the EU's external relations. Reflecting the interest of the EU in promoting innovation and competitiveness through inter-regional cooperation at sub-national level, the name has been changed to International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC).
IURC has two components or thematic strands of cooperation:
- City-to-city cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development and
- Region-to-region cooperation in the field of innovation.
The project will be embedded in the relevant EU’s political dialogue with China, i.e. the High Level Regional and Urban Policy Dialogue. It will contribute to the policy dialogue as well as to the implementation of the Action Plan (2020-2025) on Comprehensively Deepening EU China Regional Policy Cooperation (to be signed at the next High Level Dialogue).