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The ‘other’ summit - a wake up call for those who care about Europe

Date

21 Mar 2019

Sections

InfoSociety
Yesterday, while national and European leaders discuss the future of Europe, a few meters away so do over 60 mayors and local leaders, representing more than 130 million citizens through the EUROCITIES network. 
 
It is a critical time for Europe, ahead of the European elections. The success or failure of the European project will be decided in and by our cities’ ability to shape and implement policy locally.
 
That’s why Europe’s local leaders are saying we need to change the way we do politics in Europe. EUROCITIES ‘city leaders agenda for Europe’, launched today, asks that European and national leaders:
 
Work with cities, work with citizens, work with us!
 
Europe depends on its cities. They are the place where the fight against climate change becomes real, where technological innovation can help boost the digital transformation, and where equal and inclusive societies are made.
 
We want European and national leaders to:
  • strengthen the role of cities within the EU by nominating a vice president in charge of urban affairs in the European Commission
  • adopt and implement the vision of a carbon neutral Europe by 2050, including policies for cleaner and fewer cars in our cities
  • boost the digital transformation across the EU by supporting cities’ efforts to develop, test and scale up digital solutions
  • recognise the vital contribution of cities to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights
  • strengthen our representative democracy with more participative mechanisms, following the example of cities for a citizens’ focussed future of Europe
 
Anna König Jerlmyr, president of EUROCITIES and mayor of Stockholm, said:
“From climate change to affordable housing or safety in public spaces, many of Europe’s most pressing challenges are concentrated in cities. It is also in cities we see most of the opportunities. Our attractiveness to talents and investments is essential to Europe’s prosperity. So is our potential for innovation. That’s why EUROCITIES ‘city leaders agenda for Europe’ underlines the need for a much deeper partnership between the local, national and European level. Only by working together can we meet today’s challenges, reclaim the narrative of the European project and stand up for a more resilient, sustainable and citizen-focused EU. As mayors, we invite all European and national leaders to join us in this effort.”
 
Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona, said:
“More and more European cities are facing a severe housing crisis. The increase in the prices, especially of rents, is becoming unaffordable for the majority, and together with low wages, precarious labour contracts, and widening income inequality make a trap of vulnerability which is increasingly taking in broader social sectors. Housing has become one of the main divers of social exclusion across Europe. EUROCITIES recently launched an initiative for cities to deliver on the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which underscores this. Nine out of the first 21 city pledges collected so far commit to building 75,000 new affordable housing units by 2024 with an investment of over €2.17 billion. But cities cannot do it alone, they need the European Union and the Member States’ regulatory and financial support. As EUROCITIES, we want to reinforce the right to affordable housing for all to help deliver a future that works for all people.”
 
Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes, said:
“Many cities are already engaging people in ways that go beyond the traditional election cycle, through citizens panels, participatory budgeting and participatory online tools. That’s why we as members of EUROCITIES are ready to bring our experience to other levels of government, to inspire them to build societies where people come first. By doing this, we can make a positive impact on the way decisions are taken in Europe.”
[ENDS]
 
Notes to Editors
1. Please note: A press conference will take place at 15:00 on 20 March in the Tuscany Region Brussels Liaison Office (Rond-Point Schuman, 14) with mayors from Barcelona, Glasgow, Nantes, Stockholm, Warsaw.
2. Press are invited to attend all parts of the two-day mayors summit programme: Vaudeville theatre (20 March – 18:30-20:00 followed by a cocktail reception) and Committee of the Regions (21 March 9:00-13:30) 
3. Speakers include: Anna König Jerlmyr, president of EUROCITIES and mayor of Stockholm; Karl-Heinz Lambertz, president Committee of the Regions; Dario Nardella, vice president of EUROCITIES and mayor of Florence; Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona; Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes; Rafał Trzaskowski, mayor of Warsaw; Emily O’Reilly, European ombudsman; Jyrki Katainen, vice president of the European Commission; MEPs: Anne Sander, EPP; Udo Bullmann, S&D; Petra De Sutter, Greens; Colombe Cohen-Salvador, Volt; Jan Olbrycht, president EP Urban Intergroup
4. Politicians are already confirmed to attend from the following cities: Arezzo, Banja Luka, Barcelona, Berlin, Bilbao, Birmingham, Bologna, Braga, Bristol, Brussels, Chemnitz, Cologne, Donostia/San Sebastian, Dortmund, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Espoo, Florence, Fuenlabrada, Gdansk, Ghent, Glasgow, Helsinki, Heraklion, Karlsruhe, Leeds, Leeuwarden, Leipzig, Liverpool, Ljubljana, Lyon, Malaga, Malmo, Manheim, Munster, Nantes, Odessa, Oulu, Paris, Porto, Poznan, Rotterdam, Rzeszow, Strasbourg, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tallinn, Tampere, Terrassa, Tirana, Toulouse, Turku, Vantaa, Vienna, Warsaw
5. EUROCITIES is the political platform for major European cities. We network the local governments of over 140 of Europe’s largest cities and more than 40 partner cities that between them govern some 130 million citizens across 39 countries. www.eurocities.eu
6. EUROCITIES second mayors summit will mark the conclusion of EUROCITIES ‘Europe for citizens – cities for Europe’ campaign, which has sought to explore and promote new forms of democracy across Europe. http://cities4europe.eurocities.eu 
 

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