From the end of this year, the MRA, a collaboration between 32 municipalities of Noord-Holland and Flevoland and the 2 provinces, will have a council that will represent the MRA externally and lobby for the region in The Hague and in Brussels. Further reorganizations should ensure that the MRA consults more effectively and involve municipal councils and the Provincial Council more in regional programs and plans.
Power of influence
According to many municipalities in the region, the MRA lacks the necessary strength. The organization is relatively small, especially when compared to the metropolitan area of The Hague Rotterdam (MRDH). In addition, there are various regional entities which partly have overlapping programs and their own supports. Some of the MRA municipalities are not part of the transport region. They are represented there by the province of Noord-Holland. There is also the Amsterdam Economic Council, in which businesses and entrepreneurs are also represented.
An independent study carried out almost two years ago already shows that the MRA is mainly seen as an informal organization. Municipalities like it to exchange knowledge and experiences and create mutual trust. But the downside is that not much is geared towards real vision and direction. The steering group, which mainly consists of mayors and commissioners, has insufficient leadership and is seen more as a Polish Diet. The administrative platforms, where various sub-themes such as mobility, spatial planning and the economy are discussed, work alternately and between the two there are still separate portfolio meetings on the topics. The Agenda Committee is expected to establish more connections between these administrative platforms, but is not doing enough. In addition, the MRA is also geographically divided into seven sub-regions.
Especially in the space field, this loose and fragmented approach poses problems. The region is struggling, according to the report, to reach meaningful agreements on topics such as the number of housing units to be built. But it is precisely this spatial task that is perhaps the most important raison d’être of the ARM and which requires good coordination between provinces and municipalities. The MRA now also recognizes this: the ever-growing link between the city of Amsterdam and the sub-regions that surround it has now become a true metropolis, and there is a need for cooperation with shorter lines between the metropolitan region, the administrators and city councils and to approve decisions. “This requires simplifying the consultation within the MRA to a manageable number of bodies with a clear position and mission. The administrative burden must be reduced, the consultations must be clear in decision-making and these must be able to be submitted and checked in time by the Councils and the Parliament ”, states the transition committee in the proposal.
In order to strengthen this link with parliament, the MRA wants the Council table, which includes representatives from each city council and parliament, to meet more often and be involved in plans and matters earlier in the process. In addition, the agenda committee and the steering group will be transformed into a (small) executive committee and a general assembly, respectively, in which all municipalities, provinces and the transport region will participate.
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