Major cities look for solutions to European challenges

The Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart attended the annual conference of EUROCITIES - network of major European cities - held in Prague. The cross-cutting topic at this year’s conference was to send a clear message to the new members of the European Commission who assume office on 1 December and advise them that cities have a significant role in tackling essential challenges faced by Europe, including attainment of carbon-neutrality, development of sustainable mobility and reduction of poverty.

“Poverty is not merely a socio-economic problem,” said Mayor Kõlvart. “Poverty limits access to good education, and poor education affects the environmental awareness of people which has a direct impact on tackling climate change. Plus, people with poor education are more susceptible to various extremist ideas currently disseminated in Europe which in turn could compromise public safety.”

Mihhail Kõlvart alongside with the Mayor of Edinburgh Frank Ross and the Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella attended a debate on tourism held as part of the conference. The Mayors talked about striking a better balance between the development of tourism and the welfare of local residents. 

The challenges faced by Tallinn as a tourist destination are very similar to those in other European cities where the number of foreign visitors exceeds the local population manifold. The cities need more authority and tools to regulate this domain in order to find and maintain a balance between tourism development and the well-being of their citizens. Tourist tax is a commonly applied local tax in Europe which is considered perfectly normal these days,” said Kõlvart.

EUROCITIES is the largest and most influential organisation of major European cities with a membership of more than 145. Tallinn is a member of EUROCITIES since 1998 and sits on its Executive Committee since 2018.