“Working with cities is working with citizens”

11 March 2021

Eurocities has offered to cooperate with the EU institutions on the planned Conference on the Future of Europe.

“As city leaders we are ready to work with the EU to make the Conference on the Future of Europe a success,” said Dario Nardella, president of Eurocities. “We work with citizens and local communities every day, understand their needs and dreams for Europe. We are the bridge the EU needs to make this work. So let’s get going for a Europe that is more democratic and closer to its people.”

The presidents of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission had signed a joint declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe on Wednesday. They want to “open a new space for debate with citizens to address Europe’s challenges and priorities” and invite “citizens to join the conversation and have their say on the future of Europe”.

The Conference shall be organised as a series of events, organised “in partnership with civil society and stakeholders at European, national, regional and local level”, as the joint declaration states.

Needed: a new European localism

Eurocities, the network of 200 European cities, welcomes the initiative and suggests a dialogue with city authorities. “City leaders are the closest level of government to people,” said Dario Nardella. “Working with cities is working with citizens.”

Examples of how cities involve people directly in decision-making are collected in a Eurocities publication on citizen engagement. The principle: a good government works not only for the people, but with the people.

Eurocities wants to contribute to the Conference on the Future of Europe from the perspective of city authorities. In a paper, formulated together with Friends of Europe, it says: “An effective Conference must see the value that cities – through their vibrant networks, local expertise and unique solutions – can play in enhancing policymaking at an EU level. This is why a new European localism will be key to bring people into the heart of the EUs decisions.”