EUROCITIES is working with citizens to build a stronger Europe, said Daniël Termont during an intervention at the Committee of the Regions plenary session on Wednesday 4 July.
Mr Termont, president of EUROCITIES and mayor of Ghent, was speaking during a session dedicated to ‘the future of Europe as seen by regions and cities’. He outlined recent achievements of EUROCITIES’ campaign, ‘Cities4Europe – Europe for citizens’. 90 cities from around Europe have together launched more than 250 local actions to engage people directly in a dialogue about what kind of EU we need for the future.
City leaders are committed to working alongside their citizens to reach results that matter to people. From tackling climate change to improving social inclusion, the EU can take inspiration from its cities and find better ways to engage with people.
“We need a genuine partnership approach between European and local leaders”, stated Mr Termont. An “annual leadership meeting that brings together all levels of government, sets a common strategic agenda and agrees on actions” would be his suggested route forward. This kind of partnership approach could be used to strengthen the achievements of the Urban Agenda for the EU, which is a good start in terms of applying multilevel governance in practice.
For Mr Termont, speaking on behalf of EUROCITIES, the network of major European cities, sharing responsibilities between different levels of governance should also mean sharing costs. This does not mean making any cuts to the cohesion policy budget, but rather removing barriers at EU level to long term public investment, and getting cities fully involved in shaping investment programmes to match local needs.
At #CoRPlenary @DanielTermont says @EUROCITIEStweet works 4 a stronger Europe, closer to its citizens. The #FutureofEurope needs a genuine partnership approach, to strengthen #EUUrbanAgenda, share responsibilities among all levels of govt + maintain robust #CohesionPolicy in #MFF pic.twitter.com/K3UhThVJca— EUROCITIES network (@EUROCITIEStweet) July 4, 2018
Other speakers at the plenary session, which took place in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Brussels, focussed on the role of cities in combatting European challenges, such as migration, climate change and the development of public spaces. It is at the local level where the majority of European level policy decisions are implemented, and this means that EU policy needs to be flexible enough to allow for regional differences. Cohesion policy, and the structural funds, are the EU’s primary tools for ensuring solidarity across Europe, and were mentioned time and again by the different speakers as a vital lifeline for helping build a Europe closer to its citizens, and a key touchstone policy in all discussions about the future of Europe.
Following the plenary, Anna Lisa Boni, EUROCITIES secretary general, attended an event to celebrate the success of the Cohesion Alliance.