As part of our Cities4Europe campaign, Heraklion organised a citizens' consultation which developed recommendations for improving policy cooperation and communication at all levels, with a focus on enabling young people to be heard.
The event aimed to inform citizens, both actual participants as well as more than 1500 people to whom invitations and fact sheets from EUROCITIES and the European Commission were sent, about the future shape of EU funds and policies, and enable dialogue. Participants were then given the opportunity to make concrete and viable proposals applicable to other cities.
The co-organisers were the City of Heraklion's deputy mayor for Tourism and Communication and EUROCITIES young ambassador, the Region of Crete (Europe Direct) and the Union of Federalists of Crete.
Sixty-three proposals developed by citizens were gathered by the organisers and speakers. After discussion, three were chosen to be put forward for the purposes of the mayors summit in Brussels and for EUROCITIES policy. The city wanted one to be politically addressed and discussed within EUROCITIES first and the other two are of a more general nature.
These are the three recommendations:
1. Youth City Councils (YCCs) should meet regularly, at least four times a year, and be guaranteed both representation at city council sessions and consultative powers concerning issues discussed at city council level and their own initiatives. YCCs should be coordinated within EUROCITIES, which would be responsible for organising an annual YCC plenary meeting, with the support of the EU. This would mean that YCCs could have a concrete impact and play a tangible role in addressing young citizens’ issues and in making them heard at institutional level.
2. Greater cooperation between different policy levels - EU, national, regional and local.
3. An increase in the EU budget for communication to enhance the link between Brussels, national European Parliament and European Commission representatives and the regions and municipalities - as local authorities are naturally closer to both citizens and young people. Plans should include dedicated YCC information and communication initiatives.
These citizens' proposals, together with those from other panel events taking place across Europe until the end of February, will be presented at the second mayors summit on the future of Europe on 20 and 21 March 2019.
As part of the mayors summit, which will take place two months ahead of the European Parliament elections in the presence of more than 100 city politicians, EUROCITIES and the European Commission will present the panel results to national and European political leaders.