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Home > Cities Today > Issue 22 > Interview with Johanna Rolland, President of EUROCITIES

Interview with Johanna Rolland, President of EUROCITIES

What have been some of the highlights of EUROCITIES’ 30-year existence?

We’ve come a long way since 1986. Our network, which started out as six founding members, has grown to over 135 major European cities in 39 countries, representing 130 million citizens. We now network with over 2,500 city politicians, experts and officials, which is an achievement in its own right. What has been striking about our membership is that we have continued to attract cities outside the EU, who see the value of being part of a wider network to share experience and collaborate on common problems. In particular, under the presidency of Wolfgang Tiefensee from 2002 to 2004 we were able to engage members from the EU’s enlargement states, and more recently we continue to attract members from countries such as Turkey.

We have been successful in positioning EUROCITIES as the ‘go to’ urban network. EUROCITIES gives members the opportunity to share knowledge and experience, and have a say in European policy making. We know that EU legislation has a direct impact on cities yet we are not directly involved in the policy making process. Our collaboration through EUROCITIES has demonstrated our capacity to highlight the bottlenecks and opportunities for cities within EU legislation.

EU institutions see us as a direct channel to city leaders and urban expertise. We are regularly invited to contribute on issues such as migration, urban mobility and air quality. We participate in a number of expert groups and have given evidence at European Parliamentary hearings. It’s a major first step, but making cities’ voices heard is an ongoing challenge.

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