The European city network offers lessons, partners and ways to achieve the goals of the Espoo Story

Published: 4.11.2021 10.11Updated: 4.11.2021 11.01
Group photo of city of Espoo's participants in the Eurocities conference in Leipzig.

This year’s annual Eurocities conference is being held in Leipzig, Germany, from 3 to 5 November. Next summer, the event will be hosted by Espoo. Eurocities, our most important European city network, does advocacy work at the EU level, provides information on EU funding opportunities and legislation and serves as a peer learning platform for its member cities.

The annual Eurocities conference brings its 200 large and medium-sized member cities together in Leipzig under the theme “The power of cities – transforming societies”. The participants will discuss the cities’ resilience and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, climate goals and prevention of segregation. Among the conference speakers are two European Commission vice-presidents, Frans Timmermans who is in charge of climate issues and Dubravka Šuica who focuses on democracy and demographic change. Espoo is represented at the conference by a five-person delegation, led by the City Board Chairperson Henrik Vuornos.

“I am looking forward to discussions with my European colleagues. The new Espoo Story includes many internationally ambitious goals that we can also promote in cooperation with European cities and through the EU’s financial instruments,” says Henrik Vuornos, Chairperson of the City Board.

According to the city’s strategy, known as the Espoo Story, Espoo learns and develops through international cooperation. For example, we want to raise Espoo’s profile as the northern European capital of entrepreneurship and innovation, achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and be Finland’s top city for integration.

“It is important that we follow and participate in the European debate on the future of cities, share our expertise and learn from others. An active and internationally known city is a sought-after partner for European cooperation projects and international events and attracts talents, companies and investments,” says Mervi Heinaro, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Sports and Culture.

The Eurocities network operates through substance forums that are open to all city units. The forums focus on monitoring international developments in their field, EU-level advocacy and peer learning. The Cultural Unit has been the most active among the City of Espoo’s units and chaired the Eurocities Culture Forum from 2019 to 2020.

“The unit’s active participation in the network’s activities has increased Espoo’s international visibility, opened up cooperation opportunities in the European field of culture and enabled peer learning through working groups. At the moment, Espoo is responsible for chairing the working group that focuses on cultural funding and partnerships,” says Cultural Director Susanna Tommila.

Espoo to host Eurocities annual conference in June 2022

The City of Espoo was chosen to host the annual conference in 2022. The event will take place from 8 to 10 June 2022 at Dipoli in Otaniemi under the title “An Era of New Beginnings–Dream–Act–Lead–Together”.

The conference will bring to Espoo a number of mayors from large and medium-sized European cities as well as EU decision-makers, senior officials and media representatives. The key themes of the future-oriented Espoo conference include youth participation, co-creation and city leadership in the fight against climate change.

“Hosting the annual Eurocities conference will offer us an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of both Espoo and its expertise and be seen as an interesting partner for other European cities. During the city’s 50th anniversary year, we will show our guests the best of what Espoo has to offer together with our key partners. The conference will also give a boost to businesses in Espoo,” says Milla Ovaska, Head of International Affairs.

You can follow Espoo’s news from Leipzig on Twitter and Instagram through the @EspooEsbo accounts and through Espoo’s conference participants, @SusannaTommila @MHeinaro @Saara_vanhala @MillaOvaska @vuornos.

Further information

Milla Ovaska, Head of International Affairs, City of Espoo, tel. +358 43 824 4911,

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