Decision makers at all levels of government – mayors of European cities and representatives from municipalities, regional governments, national states and the European Commission – are gathered in Oulu, Finland this week to launch an initiative to boost sustainable digital transformation in cities and communities in the EU.
We see this as key to our mission of turning our cities and communities into smart and sustainable places where people enjoy living and working. We aim for a cohesive, digital Europe, where every community can enjoy the economic and social benefits of this transformation, while making sure not to leave anyone behind. We therefore underline the need for sufficient public and private investment in digital services, technologies, infrastructures and skills to achieve this goal.
With their signatures, which we started to collect here in Oulu, cities and communities commit themselves to contributing to a joint investment plan to adopt and implement common existing digital solutions on a large scale in the EU. The success of these commitments relies on effective co-funding on local, regional, national and EU level.
In order to tackle the challenges too complex to be solved by one country alone, we need an ambitious EU budget linking up the various European programmes, such as Digital Europe, Connecting Europe Facility, Cohesion, LIFE programme, Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe.
We therefore call on EU leaders at the European Council meeting this week in Brussels to stand up for an ambitious EU budget 2021-2027.