Introducing Eurocities Shadow Commission College

11 July 2024

Next week, as many new MEPs take their seats in Strasbourg, and vote on Ursula von der Leyen’s reappointment to President of the European Commission, attention will start to shift towards nominations for the incoming College of European Commissioners. Meanwhile, mayors are already one step ahead.

This past mandate has seen an increased acknowledgment of cities at the heart of EU decision making, thanks to bold initiatives like the 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission. However, given that local authorities are the main implementers of EU legislation, and at the forefront of dealing with European challenges from lack of affordable housing and climate change to unemployment, rising costs of living and geopolitical uncertainty, an increased presence in EU decision making is essential.

With this in mind, the Eurocities Shadow Commission – presided by Burkhard Jung, Eurocities President and Mayor of Leipzig – aims to do just that, by raising the voices and profiles of mayors as direct counterparts to the incoming European Commission College.

It follows on from Eurocities European elections campaign A better Europe starts in cities and consists of mayors of Eurocities’ member cities, each with a portfolio reflecting critical priorities of cities at the European level.

“Cities must play a central part in formulating EU policy,” commented Burkhard Jung, President of the Eurocities Shadow Commission and Mayor of Leipzig. “The issues we are confronted with, be it through the rise of populism, the effects of climate change, refugee integration, or health threats, all require EU-level solutions that are implemented locally. As the new leaders of the EU take office, the Eurocities Shadow Commission will ensure our voices are heard. Together, we will build a more inclusive, sustainable, and dynamic Europe.”

The Eurocities Shadow Commission’s mandate reflects the main messages from the Eurocities Manifesto, which outlines key actions for reimagining and strengthening Europe through urban initiatives. This includes a strong emphasis on social inclusion, climate resilience, digital transformation, and a more coordinated urban policy framework within the EU.

As is the case in the European Commission, the Eurocities College of Shadow Commissioners is composed of vice presidents in charge of the key priorities, along with commissioners covering the more focused areas.

Conversely to the European Commission, Eurocities commitment to gender equality means that each set of vice presidents and commissioners will be composed of two mayors, a man and a woman, who will together speak for their portfolio.

“Cities are ready to act,” says Burkhard Jung, President of the Eurocities Shadow Commission and Mayor of Leipzig. “The Eurocities Shadow Commission offers local level counterparts for members of Ursula von der Leyen’s soon to be announced Commission College. Talk with us to better understand the impacts of policy decisions as they are implemented on the ground.”

The currently announced positions on the Eurocities Shadow Commission, are:

  • President: Burkhard Jung, Mayor of Leipzig
  • Vice President for Democracy: Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor of Lodz; and Mathias De Clercq, Mayor of Ghent
  • Vice President for Just Transition: Nathalie Appéré, Mayor of Rennes; and Matteo Lepore, Mayor of Bologna
  • Vice President for Industry and Competitiveness: Natalia Chueca, Mayor of Zaragoza; and Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki
  • Vice President for Climate Resilience: Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku; and Harris Doukas, Mayor of Athens
  • Vice President for Local Europe: Jeanne Barseghian, Mayor of Strasbourg; and and Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga

Following this announcement of the President and Vice Presidents of the Eurocities Shadow Commission, all other positions will be announced in September. The first meeting of the college of the Eurocities Shadow Commission will take place at the European Mayors Summit on 21-22 October 2024.


Alex Godson Eurocities Writer