Mary-Ann Schreurs, Eindhoven’s deputy mayor for innovation and chair of our
knowledge society forum, headed up a small delegation of cities at a meeting
with the European Commission’s inter-cabinet group on urban issues.
The group was set up by the cabinet of Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič at the start of the new Commission’s mandate to ensure better coordination of EU policies on urban issues, recognising the increasingly transversal nature of many policy challenges and solutions.
The meeting brought together nine different cabinets, the secretariat-general of the Commission and the representatives of seven cities.
The latter included Roberta Cocco, councillor for digital transformation in Milan; Flavia Marzano, councillor for smart city and innovation in Rome; Eero Halonen, chairman of the economic development board in Oulu; Staffan Ingvarsson, CEO of Stokab in Stockholm; Karl-Filip Coenegrachts, chief strategy officer of the city of Ghent; and Andrew Collinge, assistant director of intelligence at the Greater London Authority.
Members of the inter-cabinet group and the cities’ representatives discussed issues related to breaking down silos, improving digital skills, and strengthening co-creation tools at all levels of governance.
The exchanges revealed that there is both a shared vision and common challenges at city and EU level.
The cities’ representatives said that they expect the Commission to:
■ initiate an open and direct dialogue about challenges and solutions in Europe’s cities
■ lead on job creation and competitiveness
■ support the scaling up of solutions (for example through lighthouse projects)
■ provide continued funding to enable cities to drive innovation and come up with policy solutions