Mayors’ summit on the future of Europe

Wednesday, 8. 3. 2017

On 7 March 2017, Mayor Zoran Janković attended the mayors’ summit on the future of Europe in Brussels at which tackling rising populism and Euroscepticism was discussed.

Mayor Zoran Janković along with mayors of other cities, among them Athens, Berlin, Stockholm, Ghent, Cardiff, Dresden and Gdansk took part in the discussion ‘Tackling rising populism and Euroscepticism – why it matters to Europe’s cities’. He noted that as many as 75% of people in Europe live in cities that is why they play a very important role for our future. As the European Union is at a crossroads, in his opinion we need a strong Union and strong leaders bringing it closer together and developing it as a whole without any internal divisions between more and less developed areas. He stated that with the passing of Brexit European institutions should be moved from Great Britain to other member countries as soon as possible, and at the same time he emphasised we remain open to cooperation with all British cities. He also appealed to the European leaders to listen more closely to mayors because they are directly elected by citizens therefore they are familiar with their needs and life style. More funds should be earmarked for development in crises areas, for instance in Syria, instead of channelling funds into buying weapons, and he emphasized that funds for NATO should be cut in half. He added sanctions against Russia should be lifted.
He also told the participants how open Ljubljana is – among other things we are the only city where part of the premises at the City Hall are used for activities of the LGBT community and the only city where the City Council unanimously voted to house migrants. On the occasion he emphasised again that he does not want barbed wire in his own country because in Ljubljana the memory of the Second World War is still very much alive when our city was encompassed by barbed wire.  Here the Mayor underlined the security aspect, namely during more than one month long December open-air events there was not even one single incident.
The discussion was opened by the Vice-President of the European Commission and the Commissioner Corina Cretu participated in it.
The mayors’ summit on the future of Europe is a continuation of the debate ‘Rethinking Europe’ at the Milano conference last year. The meeting is relating messages from the open letter produced after the discussion and expresses concern with regard to the future of the European project, especially after the Brexit vote, rising Euroscepticism and the disconnect between the citizens and the EU institutions.
The letter highlights that the EU has many reasons to be proud and that city leaders and mayors, as the branch of national government closest to citizens, play an important role in building an even stronger and more democratic Europe for the future.
The mayors’ summit was held just two weeks before the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community, namely, on 25 March, leaders of countries and governments are going to meet in Rome where they will think about future steps needed in the fundamentally shaken European Union and discuss a new vision for it.