The EUROCITIES cooperation platform, which took place in the city of Antwerp from 17 – 19 May, welcomed over 120 participants from 72 cities.
The first full day was organised around parallel sessions, of which participants attended two out of three options. The first, ‘Building a EUROCITIES fit for the future’, asked participants to imagine how they would go about establishing a new city network if they had the task of building one from scratch today. In this way, members could consider whether the current EUROCITIES structure is appropriate for our current needs as an organisation. Many suggestions for developments were mentioned, including focusing more on transversal issues as well as gender equality and work secondments.
The second parallel session, ‘Campaign on the future of Europe’, led by the city of Ghent, gauged members’ interest to participate directly in the future of the EU debate, by reflecting the voices of their citizens. Following our mayors summit on the future of Europe, tackling populism and Euroscepticism, earlier this year, cities are already showing that they are ready to act. In the context of the EU’s search for solutions to its many current challenges, and Juncker’s White Paper, cities are better placed than ever to show a united front and promote true European solidarity via the voice of their citizens.
The third parallel session discussed how to further integrate EUROCITIES project work into other ongoing work, while also ensuring that project work helps fulfil strategic goals, and are co-created with our members. Future ideas for project work that members would find interesting included areas such as the circular economy and interregional connectivity. It was also suggested that forum study visits could be more related to specific projects EUROCITIES is currently involved in.
On the last day participants were updated on the latest and forthcoming EU policy and projects developments. They attended speednetworking sessions, covering EUROCITIES thematic forums, as well as other issues, such as an update on the new features of the website.