EUROCITIES 2014 Munich took place on 5-8 November, attracting over 400 city leaders, experts and representatives from the EU institutions, NGOs and media.
This year's EUROCITIES annual conference was an opportunity to explore the theme of 'energising cities - energy intelligent cities of the future'.
Two panels of mayors were joined by representatives from the conference business partners, the science community and a social institution to consider the important contribution cities can make to mitigating climate change and boosting the transition to sustainable energy. These discussions were complemented by a series of hands-on workshops, including the opening of Munich's first integrated mobility station, which will combine bike and car sharing with tram, bus and underground connections over several phases; and a visit to Munich's local hydropower plants, which are part of Munich's strategy to provide green electricity to the whole city by 2025. Conference business partner Siemens hosted a special session on intelligent mobility solutions, during which they showcased some of the innovations they have developed.
Professor Simon Anholt, best known as the world's leading authority on national and city image, delivered a keynote speech during which he spoke for the first time about the 'good' city. According to Anholt, a 'good' city is one that looks outward, rather than inward, considering how it can benefit not only its own population, but the global population. He said that since the 70s and 80s, the way people perceive cities and countries has changed. They no longer admire cities for being rich, powerful or beautiful, but for how much they contribute to humanity. He said that Europe's extensive history of cooperation and collaboration is a considerable advantage, and that to remain competitive, cities must work together to the benefit of their collective populations. He cited this year's conference theme, energy, as a prime example of how actions at local level make an impact at global level, and he praised city leaders for their ambition and commitment.
City politicians met during a private session to discuss the vital contribution cities can make to achieving Europe's 2020 goals. They considered how to maintain the current momentum towards an EU urban agenda that involves cities directly in policy making into the new European Commission and Parliament.
Three cities - Liverpool, Malaga and Vilnius - were recognised during this year's EUROCITIES awards for their inspiring projects relating to the main conference theme.
The conference provided plenty of opportunities for networking, too. The 'meet a colleague' session was a chance for members to exchange knowledge and best practice, while Friday's speednetworking tables offered an informal opportunity to learn more about the wide variety of projects going on in our cities and at European level.
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, mayor of Warsaw, handed over the presidency of EUROCITIES to her successor, Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes. We also welcomed new members Reykjavik and Cardiff.
Our host and mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, ensured that participants were treated to the best of Bavarian culture, including a dinner at the famous Hofbräuhaus, and Bavarian music and dance. The opening reception at BMW Welt was a chance to showcase a very different Munich landmark.
Find out more about the conference at www.eurocities2014.eu.