With the New Leipzig Charter, a European document on the principles for urban development has been adopted by all EU member states in November 2020. It calls for cities to have a stronger role in decision making at both national and EU level and to receive adequate funding for their work towards the common good.
Burkhard Jung, mayor of Leipzig and vice president of Eurocities, gave a speech at the informal council meeting of EU ministers on urban matters where the New Leipzig Charter was adopted. Here some extracts of his speech.
“As the name-giving city, the Leipzig Charter of 2007, but also the New Leipzig Charter has a special meaning for us.
See also this film: Leipzig lives the Leipzig Charter: film on Leipzig’s urban development from 1990 up to the present
The New Leipzig Charter provides a comprehensive picture of the current challenges and objectives for sustainable development. The core principles of responsible urban development have been expanded and specified. I am particularly pleased that one principle out of all others has been highlighted – and even visibly anchored in the title of the Charter: the orientation towards the common good.
The current pandemic situation shows once again the importance of urban action committed to the common good – how important it is to have sufficient powers of action at local level, to provide qualified municipal infrastructure and services for all parts of the population.
As city representatives, it is clear to us that most European and national sustainable development objectives can only be implemented with the support of the cities and municipalities on the ground. Towns and cities are very conscious of this responsibility. But we also know that all this can only be implemented if essential framework conditions are maintained and created.
From our point of view and from our experience, the following is particularly important to us:
- Cities need appropriate administrative structures, finances and legal frameworks.
- They need the confidence of the citizens, without which they cannot implement their policies.
- They need the trust of the higher levels such as regions, member states and the EU, which provide them with sufficient competences and ownership. This also includes ensuring an appropriate urban dimension in the relevant funding programmes. This enables cities to access funds directly where necessary and, in particular, to use them for integrated approaches.
- Integrated, cross-policy and public-interest oriented thinking and action at all levels is necessary in order to exploit synergies, understand conflicting objectives and find solutions.
- Involvement of cities in all essential decision-making processes concerning urban issues – both informal and secure formal ways of participation and communication would be desirable. With its commitment, for example in the German Association of Cities and Towns or through the European city network Eurocities, the city of Leipzig, like many other cities, is trying to make its own contribution.
I am convinced that European cities are thus moving towards a fairer, more resilient and liveable future for the benefit of their citizens and society as a whole.”
Read more about the Leipzig Charter here