Founded in 1986, EUROCITIES is a European city network currently composed of more than 130 metropolises, each of which has over 250,000 inhabitants. As a result, EUROCITIES represents in excess of 120 million people. Vienna acceded to EUROCITIES in 1995.
Dedicated to backing cities' concerns in the EU, EUROCITIES is the only multinational network that represents European cities as a unified body vis-à-vis the European institutions and focuses on matters of specific interest and importance to metropolises.
It is the prime objective of EUROCITIES to give cities a voice in the decision-making processes of EU institutions and to help them formulate their own ideas, for example in discussions about how to use Structural Funds, environmental issues or services of general interest.
The exchange of experience and the development of common strategies and projects are other focal concerns.
Technical and expert work is discharged in forums on:
- information and communication technologies (knowledge society),
- social affairs,
- environment, and
- economic development and urban planning,
which address issues of fundamental importance for cities.
Solutions for burning problems are developed by working groups (for example on public services or urban security).
Likewise key focuses of the network:
- Active shaping of European policies
- Exchange of best-practices among members
- Promotion of joint projects
- Development of joint strategies
Participation of Vienna
Vienna is represented in nearly all forums and working groups as well as in the top-level Executive Committee.
Municipal Department 27 - European Affairs (MA 27) is tasked with providing co-ordination between the Viennese EUROCITIES members and with ensuring internal communication. This is done in close consultation with the Vienna House in Brussels, which deploys the Viennese representative (Michaela Kauer) to the Executive Committee.
Importance for Vienna
The City of Vienna uses EUROCITIES as a platform to effectively advance its interests in Brussels.
In addition, the constant exchange of experience and networking help to generate new ideas and minimise the time- and cost-intensive process of finding optimum solutions to problems ("the wheel does not need to be re-invented anew by each city on its own.").
EUROCITIES has acted as a vehicle for successfully asserting Vienna's positions at the European level in the following areas:
- Warding-off of liberalisation trends in urban passenger transport
- Warding-off of liberalisation trends in the water sector
- Green Paper on Urban Transport
- Specific mention of the right of European citizens to maintain and develop their own culture in the Charter of Fundamental Rights (hence safeguarding the eligibility of cultural projects for funding)
Eva Gsteu-Kirschbaum (European Affairs)