In response to European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker's State of the Union address 2018, EUROCITIES secretary general, Anna Lisa Boni, shared the following thoughts:
"With the next European elections just around the corner, President Juncker is right to seek to build a more united and stronger Europe. But a Europe that seeks to protect within a global context will fare better once it recognises the global power of cities. We need to strengthen the urban dimension of EU decision making by involving cities as strategic partners on issues from migration and climate change to a more social Europe. It is in cities where these challenges come together, and where citizens are most likely to see results. We agree it is important to be more ambitious on these big issues, but ambition requires showing impact at the local level, which cannot be done without the involvement of cities.
Europe won’t be able to be united and show solidarity if it doesn’t work with cities. This is why the next EU budget, including a strong cohesion policy, must reflect not only these top priorities, but also involve cities in the agenda setting. Cities have the experience of working with citizens and ensuring that decisions taken at EU level work on the ground. EUROCITIES Cities4Europe campaign is engaging with citizens to find new ways of doing politics, and we look forward to presenting these outcomes to president Juncker and colleagues at our second mayors summit on 21 March 2019 in Brussels.
People are calling on the EU to change. Our message to President Juncker is: yes we can - together with the cities and our citizens, we can hold onto European values while building a Europe fit for the future."