The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan hosted the eighth summit of the mayors of EU capital cities in London.
The morning session focused on the role of cities in designing urban policy in Europe given the appointment of new members of the European Commission so as to send a clear message that the cities want to be involved in the development of European policies and regulations as equal partners of the European Commission and the Member States.
The participants discussed how the European Urban Agenda adopted in Amsterdam in 2016 has served its purpose and which further steps should be taken. Other significant issues highlighted by the mayors of 19 European capitals included problems related to the environment, security, migration, economic development and mobility. “It is important to improve the dialogue between the cities and the European Commission and provide the cities with greater autonomy in deciding how to use resources for tackling essential problems that they are facing. However, that greater autonomy requires decentralisation efforts on Member State level. The question is whether the central governments are ready to do that,” said Mayor Kõlvart.
The second half of the meeting focused on the role of cities in countering violent extremism and radicalisation that is on the rise in Europe and elsewhere. “Even though this problem has not yet affected us directly, we should be prepared to address these problems. Many people think that extremism is something that only comes from outside our national borders. But the truth is that the politicians themselves could sow the seeds for radicalisation with their incautious statements and targeted efforts. Prevention requires creating a sense of community and direct communication between people,” noted the mayor.
Further, the participants discussed the future of cooperation between European and British cities in view of the uncertainty caused by Brexit. “Regardless of decisions made by national governments, it is essential to uphold solidarity and continue the cooperation between cities,” said the mayor. The participants suggested that the mayors of other European capitals could be invited to attend future meetings of the mayors of EU capital cities (M28). It was agreed that the next meeting of mayors would be held in Zagreb in the first half of next year.