Eurocities Environment Forum 2023 – Powering our cities

15 February 2023

The urgency of a just transition to a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 is repeatedly highlighted in our turbulent times. First and foremost, through the climate and biodiversity crises, then through the pandemic, and now by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine escalating into the first truly global energy crisis.

Cities from around Europe will meet in Ghent at the Eurocities Environment Forum 2023 to share their response to these times of crisis, with a focus on innovative collaboration with the industrial and other sectors.

Cities will explore the impact of proposed European initiatives on funding for local infrastructure, discussing their views directly with EU policymakers; the global climate emergency and cooperation with businesses, including the EU platform for sustainable financing and streamlining environmental concerns through urban policies on small and medium enterprises; and strategies for future-proofing the workforce, recognising the key role that people and skills play in building sustainable local economies.

Eurocities member cities will have exclusive access to the full in-person programme from 26-28 April, but all are welcome to join the live online broadcast on Thursday 27 April, from 09.30-12.30 CET.

The broadcast will be live streamed on this page, including contributions from Mathias De Clercq, Mayor of Ghent and Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO at SolarPower Europe.

Live stream agenda

09.40-10.00 Official welcome from our hosts

  • Tine Heyse, Deputy Mayor of Ghent responsible for Environment, Climate and Housing
  • Mathias De Clercq, Mayor of Ghent
  • André Sobczak, Secretary General, Eurocities
10.00-10.30 Keynote

  • Claire Dupont, Professor of European and International Governance at Ghent University and Chair of the European Environment Agency’s Scientific Committee
  • Milan Elkerbout, Research Fellow and Head of the climate policy programme at Centre for European Policy Studies
10.30-11.00 Break
11.00-12.30 Political debate

Local pathways to collaborate with industry for the energy transition
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered shock waves in global energy markets, leading to price volatility, supply shortages, security issues and economic uncertainty. The European Union has responded to this energy crisis with a series of measures under the RePowerEU Plan aimed at putting Europe on a path to energy independence as soon as possible. Accelerating the roll out of renewable energy and reducing the fossil fuel consumption in industry and transport have been identified as key priorities with recovery and resilience plans updated to reflect the new allocated financial envelope.
Cities at the forefront of the climate and energy crises play a crucial role in supporting EU and national climate objectives from bringing stakeholders together in one-stop-shops, to permitting industry and financing infrastructure. How can collaboration between cities and industry accelerate transformative system change? What role is there for cities in EU-level industry alliances?


  • Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO at SolarPower Europe
  • Daan Schalck, CEO at North Sea Port Authority
  • Eero Ailo, Adviser, Energy transition and local governance, DG ENER, European Commission
  • Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki
  • Mariusz Skiba, Deputy Mayor of Katowice

Closing remarks by Bart Somers, Vice-Minister president of the Flemish government, Minister of internal affairs and living together in diversity, and Mayor of Mechelen



Anthony Colclough Eurocities Writer