EUROCITIES

Founded in 1986, EUROCITIES is a European city network currently composed of more than 130 metropolises with over 250,000 inhabitants each as full members plus another 40 associated partner cities. As a result, EUROCITIES represents in excess of 130 million people in 39 countries.

At the political level, the cities are principally represented by their mayors; specialist thematic deliberations are conducted by experts delegated by the municipal administrations. The Annual General Meeting is the supreme body of EUROCITIES and convenes once every year; between the Annual General Meetings, the network's business is managed by the Executive Committee (ExCom), which is composed of twelve cities, one of which is not situated in an EU Member State. All political representatives in the ExCom are assisted by permanent staff members at the administrative level, who handle the co-ordination of positions throughout the year. The business of the network is exclusively conducted in the English language; the organisation is headquartered in Brussels and employs a staff of 44 persons. The activities of EUROCITIES are funded by membership fees and EU subsidies.

Activity range

Since June 2010, the Director of the Vienna Liaison Office in Brussels has been serving as the Viennese administrative representative at ExCom and hence is charged with the co-ordination of position papers. Within the Vienna City Administration, co-ordination is equally a competence of Municipal Department 27 - European Affairs (MA 27) (membership fee, search for partners, reporting, et cetera).

Thematic orientation and working methods

The general thematic work of EUROCITIES is discharged in the context of forums, each of which comprises several working groups:

  • Culture Forum
  • Economic Development Forum
  • Environment Forum
  • Knowledge Society Forum
  • Mobility Forum
  • Social Affairs Forum

Moreover, there exist working groups that due to their cross-cutting character are directly answerable to the ExCom, for example on the Urban Agenda for the EU or on public services.

In the context of lobbying activities concerned with key urban policy issues, political representatives of the cities are asked several times throughout the year to outline the positions of the network vis-à-vis the institutions of the EU.

Participation of Vienna

Vienna has been a member of EUROCITIES since 1995; since 2001, it has also been a member of the ExCom, to which it was recently re-elected at the Annual General Meeting held in November 2016 in Milan. The Mayor is Vienna's political representative in the ExCom.

Vienna is represented in nearly all forums and working groups – with approximately 40 delegates to about 30 bodies, Vienna is among the most active cities of the network. Staff members of the Vienna City Administration also chair working groups on important questions, for example on the Urban Agenda for the EU (Municipal Department 27) or social housing (Wiener Wohnen) or smart and connected mobility (Municipal Department 18).

Objectives

Dedicated to backing cities' concerns in the EU, EUROCITIES is the only multinational network in which big European metropolises have direct membership. The work of EUROCITIES always pursues two objectives:

On the one hand, the network serves as a platform for the exchange of information and experience as well as for co-operation on EU projects; on the other hand, members’ expertise is drawn upon to formulate the position of cities in the European legislative process. This for example involves discussions about how to use the Structural Funds as well as on social or environmental issues, aspects of services of general interest and cultural issues.

Geographical sphere of action

Europe and Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, partly also the Maghreb countries

Importance for Vienna

Participation in EUROCITIES is an important element for the exchange of information concerning topical developments at the European level inasmuch as these impact cities and contributes to improving the work of the municipal staff on the basis of co-operation efforts and technical exchange, hence also generating benefits for the clients of the City of Vienna. The City of Vienna uses EUROCITIES as a central platform for the efficient advocacy of its interests in Brussels. In addition, constant exchange of experience and networking activities help to generate new ideas.

Successful examples

In the recent past, EUROCITIES has proved an efficient vehicle for successfully asserting Vienna's positions at the European level specifically by:

  • Creating awareness among EU decision-makers regarding the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for cities
  • Strengthening the urban dimension within the EU cohesion policy for the 2021-2027 period
  • Ensuring a strong position for cities with respect to the platform economy
  • Re-establishing the URBAN Intergroup at the European Parliament
  • Demanding a wider interpretation of the right to housing within the European Pillar of Social Rights
  • Encouraging a debate on the funding conditions for (growing) cities in the context of the European Semester
  • Advocating the inclusion of the social housing issue in the Urban Agenda for the EU
  • Demanding that cities - as local public authorities - be exempted from the obligation to sign the EU transparency register
  • Successfully preventing the liberalisation of local public transport
  • Successfully preventing the liberalisation of the water sector
  • Commenting on the Green Paper on Urban Mobility
  • Championing the inclusion of the right to cultural diversity in the Charter of Fundamental Rights (thus safeguarding the eligibility of cultural projects for funding)
  • Demanding that cities be exempted from the obligation to sign the EU transparency register
  • Encouraging a debate on the funding conditions for (growing) cities
  • Advocating the inclusion of the social housing issue in the Urban Agenda for the EU

In 2018, the network embarked on a process of organisational change that resulted in a more clearcut catalogue of strategic objectives as well as new working methods. Vienna initiated the first event addressing the problem of women and COVID-19 in order to launch an initiative aimed at more intensive coverage of women's issues by EUROCITIES.

Leaflet

  • "Vienna is a reliable partner for EUROCITIES": 173 KB PDF
  • Wien ist verlässlicher Partner für EUROCITIES: 174 KB PDF (German)

Contact

Further information

Contact for this page:
City of Vienna | European Affairs (Eva Gsteu-Kirschbaum)
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