Send a Summer Postcard to Eurocities

Federico Guerrieri

By Federico Guerrieri, on August 13th, 2018

> Read Federico Guerrieri's articles

It’s Time for Change

At a time when Europe is striving to retain its legitimacy and relevance in the face of growing disillusionment and Euroscepticism, cities can provide a critical link with citizens.

It’s time to change the way things are done in Europe. In a recent interview, Anna Lisa Boni, EUROCITIES Secretary General, emphasised how creating a society fit for the 21st century should mean more people having a say in decision making. This needs to go beyond merely voting in elections and towards an active, more engaged, direct democracy.

With the objective of involving more people in decision making, and to inspire all levels of government to put people first, in May this year we launched ‘Cities4Europe – Europe for citizens’. This campaign aims to involve citizens in a dialogue about our future, inspire all levels of government to build societies where people come first and impact the way decisions are taken in Europe.

URBACT and more than 90 Cities already joined Cities4Europe Campaign

Since then, 91 cities and 11 organisations from around Europe, including URBACT, have together launched more than 250 local actions to engage people directly in a dialogue about what kind of society we need for the future.

RotterdamDaniel Termont, President of EUROCITIES and Mayor of Ghent, recently stressed how city leaders are committed to working alongside their citizens to reach results that matter to people. From tackling climate change to improving social inclusion, national governments and the EU can take inspiration from its cities and find better ways to engage with people.

“It’s time to change the way we do politics in Europe. The EU needs to listen more and engage more with its citizens. As local leaders and members of EUROCITIES we are committed to include our citizens in a dialogue about our future.”

Examples of Democracy Platforms in Europe: Athens’ SynAthina and Madrid’s Decide

With a modern society on the go, cities can provide great test beds for innovation.

Many city administrations are experimenting with online democracy platforms. Athens’ SynAthina, and Madrid’s Decide or Gdansk municipality participatory budget allow citizens a direct say in decision making. As such, people become more involved and take more responsibility and ownership of outcomes.

Omadridther examples of cities working with local populations to reach consensus-based decision making include participative budgeting. Several cities, such as Paris, are allocating a proportion of their investment budget to be spent according to the will of the people.

At the campaign’s launch event, which took place at the BOZAR museum of Brussels on May 7, Philippe Van Parijs, philosopher and economist, said:

“Our cities need enjoyable immobility no less than sustainable mobility. Public spaces must be reconquered and become again places to stroll and meet. Courage is needed to get there. All over Europe, citizens can and must help authorities to find it.”

Send a Summer Postcard to Eurocities

It is time to change politics, and to start a dialogue that will lead to the creation of a fairer, more just and sustainable society. And you can play your part: send us your ideas on the future of Europe by filling out this online postcard!

Cities4Europe

Find Citizens4Europe Campaign’s at large international events in the Autumn

Citizens ideas on the future of Europe, and cities recommendations on how to involve citizens in the decision-making process will be presented at EUROCITIES 2018, taking place in Edinburgh on 28-30 November 2018.

You can also find out more about the Cities4Europe campaign at the URBACT City Festival, taking place in Lisbon on 13-14 September 2018.

Let’s make a difference together!

 

 

Leave a Reply