3 December 2019

“We are the Pragma Party”

Interview with Anna Lisa Boni, secretary general of EUROCITIES

EUROCITIES

A Seat at the Table

interview by Ivo Banek

EUROCITIES calls for “a seat at the table” in Brussels for cities: you want them to have a say in European politics. Why?

 

Cities are the place where people experience many of the major problems of our time, like air pollution or congestion. People who live and work in cities are subject to particular pressure, their bodies and souls are stressed by their environment. That’s why many of them engage in public protest like the climate strikes.

“We need cities to make it happen”

 

Those are global problems…

 

…but the solutions need to be local. Most of European and national policies must be implemented in cities. The fight against climate change and against poverty, the integration of migrants, a just technological transition – we need cities to make it happen.

 

What do cities bring to the European table?

 

Expertise and experience from the ground. Cities are sensors for what moves and what concerns people. Cities are also learning to share power - listening to their citizens and co-creating policies together. This generates new types of responsibility and ownership: people are taking their fate into their own hands. They are more informed than ever, and they want to be involved.

 

Citizen engagement is also high on the European agenda.

 

I think it is difficult for the EU to involve citizens directly, beyond elections and the public consultations which usually only reach certain groups. People engage rather on a local level, also because city governments often must go beyond political ideologies and just find pragmatic solutions that serve people’s needs.

 

What is the role of EUROCITIES in all this?

 

We are Europe’s “Pragma Party”, the platform for cities and their pragmatic political leaders. As secretary general of EUROCITIES I love supporting them because they combine a political vision for their city with this very concrete approach to solving citizens’ problems. So as a network we are well placed to catalyse common concerns, to map trends – and to help cities to learn from each other.

 

“In all we do, we want to make a difference and improve the quality of urban life”

We have just revamped EUROCITIES’ goals and objectives to make clear: our work is citizen-centred and impact-driven. In all we do, we want to make a difference and improve the quality of urban life. In short: we strive for a Europe where cities are genuine partners with the EU to create a better future.

A city leaders agenda for Europe

Improve the quality of urban life: EUROCITIES' goals

 

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