Espoo’s EU super year 2022
- City of Espoo
The year 2022 is set to become a real EU super year for Espoo. Espoo has been chosen to organise the annual conference of the Eurocities network. The conference will bring hundreds of European city leaders and a significant number of EU decision-makers and officials to Espoo. The conference will be held in June 2022 at the Dipoli conference centre in Otaniemi and in other locations in Espoo.
Creating sustainable solutions for the future together
Many of Espoo’s objectives, such as the achievement of carbon neutrality and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), do not recognise national boundaries and will not be solved through national decision-making alone. Active communication and networking both domestically and internationally offer opportunities for cooperation, such as development projects with other cities. Forerunners will also be able to set the course for discussion, especially with regard to new themes.
The annual Eurocities conference provides an excellent forum for discussions on sustainable development: the theme of the conference is co-creation and sustainable development – Co-creating Europe with SDGs. The aim is to discuss how co-creation can secure good living conditions in cities for present and future generations. The member cities in the Eurocities network all share a common goal: to develop their cities in an environmentally, economically, socially and culturally sustainable way.
Opportunity to have an impact
The annual forum held in Espoo will be one of the first major city conferences in post-coronavirus Europe. The plan is to organise the conference as a live event, as far as possible. Organising the conference will also provide Espoo with an important opportunity to have an impact on urban development in Europe.
The terms ‘interest supervision’ and ‘lobbying’ often have a negative ring to them, but at the EU level, dialogue between officials, decision-makers and stakeholders at different levels is part of the normal EU preparation process. By meeting stakeholders, such as cities, EU officials and decision-makers receive valuable information for decision-making. By building EU-level cooperation and contact networks, Espoo can be an important operator and influence EU-level regulation and funding related to cities.
The importance of international networks is growing
Eurocities is an important city network for Espoo. It includes nearly 200 large and medium-sized European cities, and the network has an active secretariat for EU lobbying in Brussels. Large Finnish cities are members of the network.
The practical work within the network takes place in forums, working groups and projects. The City of Espoo actively participates for example in the Culture, Environment, Economic Development, Social Affairs and Knowledge Society Forums. In line with the spirit of the Espoo Story, Eurocities also develops cross-sectoral cooperation for the benefit of cities and their residents.
For example, through long-term work in the Eurocities network, Espoo’s Cultural Unit has increased Espoo’s visibility in Europe not only in cultural activities but in other city activities. As a result, it has strengthened the city’s reputation as a reliable partner. The Eurocities cooperation has also provided new opportunities for exerting influence, such as the membership of the Cultural Group of the EU Urban Agenda.