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City mayors urge Europe to ‘put people first’

The mayors of Edinburgh, Ghent and Stockholm were the first to sign the Eurocities Declaration on Citizens’ Engagement

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The declaration commits cities to involve citizens in a dialogue about a common future
The declaration commits cities to involve citizens in a dialogue about a common future

Mayors of major European cities have demonstrated their commitment to create a more citizen-focused Europe with more active youth participation in decision-making.

 

At the Eurocities conference, attended by more than 500 participants, the mayors of Edinburgh, Ghent and Stockholm were the first to sign Eurocities Declaration on Citizens’ Engagement, pledging to:

  • involve citizens in a dialogue about our common future;
  • inspire all levels of government to create societies where people come first;
  • impact the way decisions are taken in Europe.

Cities4Europe campaign

 

As the closest level of government to citizens, cities are crucial in shaping the future of Europe. More than 90 cities have taken part in Eurocities ‘Cities4Europe – Europe for citizens’ campaign, which has highlighted positive examples of citizen engagement around Europe, and set examples for other cities and levels of government. Ten top citizens’ messages, collected from hundreds, were also shared with delegates.

 

“Today’s young people will shape our cities of the future, and by working with them and all other citizens, we can help tackle European challenges both now and in years to come,” said Frank Ross, lord provost, Edinburgh.

 

“Throughout Scotland we have celebrated our Year of Young People, which is closely connected to Eurocities Cities4Europe campaign. Both aim to work with people to get a better understanding of the daily struggles we face within our societies, and to come up with workable solutions.”

 

Throughout the Eurocities conference, a delegation of more than 60 youth ambassadors from over 50 European cities were on hand to give their thoughts on the future of Europe. This included a conversation on stage with Nicola sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister.

“European leaders would do well to learn from local approaches. Cities4Europe wants to inspire this change and impact the way we do politics in Europe”

“A more positive future for Europe starts with its citizens. At a time when politics, both at national and European level, is searching for solutions to meet people’s expectations, cities are breaking new ground and finding innovative ways to work with people,” said Daniël Termont, president of Eurocities and mayor of Ghent.

 

He added: “European leaders would do well to learn from local approaches. Cities4Europe wants to inspire this change and impact the way we do politics in Europe by initiating direct dialogue between (young) citizens and elected politicians at any level.”

 

The Eurocities network brings together the local governments of over 140 of Europe’s largest cities and over 45 partner cities, that between them govern 130 million citizens across 39 countries. It was founded in 1986 by the mayors of six large cities: Barcelona, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Lyon, Milan and Rotterdam.

 

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