Mayors of major European cities have called on European and national leaders to work with cities to rebuild the European project. In challenging times like these, the local level can play a vital role in reconnecting Europe with its citizens.
The mayors issued an open letter urging their European and national counterparts to work in partnership with cities to ensure a positive future for Europe, and inviting them to a Summit of Mayors in Brussels on 7 March 2017 to discuss how to work together.
Cities are already working closely with citizens, and have the best understanding of their needs, concerns and expectations.
The mayors are meeting for a debate on 17 November during the EUROCITIES annual conference in Milan.
Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes and outgoing EUROCITIES president, said:
“Citizens want to see results. We aren’t going to convince them with ten-point plans or clever marketing. We need to understand their concerns and visions, and work with them to build a stronger, more relevant and legitimate Europe. As the level of government closest to citizens, we as cities can provide that crucial link.”
Many of the biggest problems facing Europe are concentrated in cities, where 75% of the continent’s population lives. Unemployment, climate change, air pollution, refugee integration and social inclusion are challenges cities deal with on a daily basis.
The Urban Agenda for the EU, launched in May this year, provides a new framework enabling cities to work in partnership with member states and the EU institutions to design and implement policies with an urban dimension. Its success depends on the commitment of the EU, national and local level.
Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent and incoming EUROCITIES president, said:
“Look at cities to see that the spirit of Europe is still very much alive. We have rallied in response to the refugee situation, we deliver bold local climate action, and design innovative programmes to fight unemployment. Our experience can be vital for rebuilding faith in the European project, and we urge European and national leaders to work in partnership with us to give Europe a better future.”
In their open letter the mayors, representing 187 major European cities, acknowledge the role that UK cities play in this process despite the Brexit vote. UK cities, like other European cities, are drivers of the economy, innovation, knowledge and places where integration and diversity thrives. Many UK city leaders remain determined to demonstrate that their cities are open for business and trade, and remain welcoming, tolerant and diverse places.
Notes to editors:
EUROCITIES open letter: http://bit.ly/2fnxsgF
EUROCITIES 2016 Milan: www.eurocities2016.eu
EUROCITIES: www.eurocities.eu; Twitter: @EUROCITIEStweet via #cities4Europe
Media contact: Rose Montgomery, EUROCITIES media and communications coordinator; firstname.lastname@example.org; +32 2 552 08 43