As part of our Cities4Europe campaign, Utrecht organised a citizens' consultation which enabled young people to share their views about how urban life could be made healthier and develop three recommendations for presentation to Europe's political leaders.
Utrecht asked young citizens what healthy urban living for everyone in the EU might look like in the future. Without being steered, the young people formed small groups and came up with themes and ideas to present to EU policymakers by themselves.
The event brought together a panel of speakers:
- Jan van Zanen, mayor of Utrecht, by video
- Victor Everhardt, deputy mayor of Utrecht
- Patrick van der Heijden, professional moderator
- Miriam Weber, policy advisor, WHO Healthy Cities Network Utrecht
- Ten civil servants representing international, European and public health affairs
- David Langerak, EU representative and event organiser.
The three recommendations that emerged from the discussions were:
1. To make urban air healthier through stricter EU norms for CO2 binding targets and by increasing knowledge at city level and introducing innovative urban initiatives for electric public transport, car sharing and charging stations - and decreasing subsidies for industries such as aviation.
2. To develop EU policy and a vision on mental health to promote less stressful lives, with a better work-life and study-life balance, and to improve the future health of all citizens through the education, study and labour environment in Europe.
3. To introduce financial solutions for healthier food, increasing prices to make unhealthy food less attractive and investing in cheaper healthy food and innovative urban pilot schemes producing sustainable and healthy food.
These citizens' proposals, together with those from other panel events taking place across Europe until the end of February, will be presented at the second mayors summit on the future of Europe on 20 and 21 March 2019.
As part of the mayors summit, which will take place two months ahead of the European Parliament elections in the presence of more than 100 city politicians, EUROCITIES and the European Commission will present the panel results to national and European political leaders.