With the EU at a cross roads, we need to seize the opportunity to change the way things are done in Europe.
Earlier this year, a Commission white paper set out scenarios for the future of Europe. EU heads of state and government gather in Brussels these days to consider issues that are vital to EU’s future, such as the economic and monetary union and Brexit. The contribution of EUROCITIES, the network of more than 140 larger European cities, to the debate on the future of Europe is available below.
Europe’s largest cities and metropolitan areas offer the right scale to respond to the challenges Europe is facing. We are drivers of development and we recognise our responsibility towards our surrounding areas to ensure that opportunities created in cites are shared across Europe. As the level of government closest to citizens, we can help the EU regain the trust of its people. To future-fit the EU, we must rethink the way we are working. This will include:
- better governance - a genuine partnership approach, with strong political leadership at EU level, strengthening the urban agenda working methods. We call for an annual meeting of EU, national and city leaders to set a common strategic agenda and agree on actions as well as an ‘urban seat’ at the subsidiarity and proportionality taskforce.
- better funding and financing - city authorities must be fully involved in shaping investment programmes, notably cohesion policy. We need a stronger place-based approach across more comprehensive funding programmes. We must remove barriers to long term investment and secure direct access to funding where cities are in charge of delivery.
- better outreach and citizens engagement - our ‘Cities4Europe, Europe for citizens’ campaign will engage citizens across Europe to understand their aspirations and expectations of the EU in the future. The EU needs better tools for listening to and engaging with its citizens. It can take inspiration from and use its cities for this purpose.
Urban and European challenges are strongly connected. City leaders are committed to a Europe that demonstrates results, regains the confidence of citizens, while also showing global leadership on issues such as climate change, equal opportunities, quality of life and high standards of public services.