Cities call for EU alliance to tackle climate, digital and social challenges

Published By Eurocities [English], Thu, Dec 14, 2023 2:45 AM

Ahead of next year’s European elections, mayors from over 200 large cities are calling with one voice for a new alliance to bring Europe into the urban century.

In a manifesto launched today, mayors in the Eurocities network cite recent challenges and propose future initiatives to help cities achieve climate neutrality, increase digital innovation while protecting digital human rights, and overcome social issues, such as the housing crisis, the integration of migrants and promoting health living.

It is clear that a better Europe starts in cities,” says André Sobczak, Secretary General of Eurocities. “In recent years, cities have taken action to protect local people from the harsh effects of the cost of living, energy and Covid-19 crises, while also providing jobs, shelter and solidarity to refugees fleeing Russia’s war in Ukraine.

With 75% of people now living in cities, the next European Commission must create a strategic alliance with mayors that harnesses the vision and transformative power of city governments to develop strong, effective EU policies that will ensure a green, just and prosperous future for local people.

In the Eurocities manifesto – A better Europe starts in cities– mayors call on European leaders to:

- Appoint an Urban Envoy in the European Commission to oversee all initiatives for cities and urban areas.

- Commit to at least a 90% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. It also demands EU support for cities to implement local adaptation plans for resilience against the extreme effects of climate change.

- Foster partnerships between local authorities and industry to successfully implement a European Green Deal Industrial Plan that benefits people through jobs and skills.

- Increase the ambition of the European Pillar of Social Rights and involve cities in its implementation.

- Support efforts to tackle Europe’s digital divide through a common EU tool for monitoring, measuring and comparing local and regional performances.

- Invest in reinforcing local administrations’ technical and administrative capacity and ensure more direct access to EU funding.

Now more than ever, the future of Europe and its prosperity depends on the involvement of local governments,

says Burkhard Jung, President of Eurocities and Mayor of Leipzig.

As momentum builds towards next year’s pivotal European elections, cities must have a central role in the EU decision-making process, leading the way on major challenges such as climate action.

Read the Eurocities manifesto ‘A better Europe starts in cities.’ Eurocities wants to make cities places where everyone can enjoy a good quality of life, is able to move around safely, access quality and inclusive public services and benefit from a healthy environment. We do this by networking more than 200 larger European cities, which together represent some 150 million people across 38 countries, and by gathering evidence of how policy making impacts on people to inspire other cities and EU decision makers.

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Read the Eurocities manifesto

For media enquiries, contact Andrew Kennedy, Eurocities Communications Advisor 0032 470 65 01 73.

Press release distributed by Wire Association on behalf of Eurocities, on Dec 14, 2023. For more information subscribe and follow Eurocities