Edinburgh flies the flag for Europe Day as #Cities4Europe campaign lifts off

Lord Provost Frank Ross blogs

Every May, Edinburgh takes part in an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe with the raising of the European flag at the City Chambers.

The symbolic gesture takes place in cities all over Europe, marking Europe Day and the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration of 1950 – to create the forerunner to the European Union. This declaration was important step towards bringing cities together in the aftermath of the Second World War, and it is this peaceful setting aside of our differences and pooling of resources which we continue to remember today.

This year, as the UK’s Brexit negotiations continue to make headlines and Edinburgh’s EICC prepares to host one of Europe’s most prestigious conferences in November, EUROCITIES, the day stands for even more.EU flag

It is a great honour for Edinburgh to be chosen to host this prestigious event. It offers a platform for Europe’s Mayors and Political Leaders, who between them govern some 130 million citizens across 39 countries, to address key challenges faced by cities in Europe. Not only will the conference provide a tremendous boost to the city’s economy, it will offer a valuable opportunity for Edinburgh to welcome cities from across Europe to showcase and share know-how, expertise and ideas. 

There is no doubt that it is the cities of Europe that will drive sustainable growth, jobs and innovation in the future. Edinburgh – with its continued success as a centre for business, technology and the arts – is determined to remain as open, connected and  influential in Europe as it is today. The EUROCITIES Conference will be an opportunity for us to showcase the important role Edinburgh plays in Europe.

It will also be a chance to develop the Edinburgh 2050 City Vision which will guide Edinburgh through changes in Europe, both in the short and long term. Strong citizen engagement (and providing citizens with the power, influence and responsibility to make decisions) is at the heart of our City Vision strategy, and already Edinburgh is devolving power to local communities with the introduction of Locality Committees.

That is why I am particularly proud that Edinburgh is also supporting the EUROCITIES campaign, Cities4Europe – Europe for Citizens. Kickstarted this week in Brussels, the movement will drive momentum to involve citizens in all levels of government and impact the way decisions are taken in Europe. It echoes the steps already being taken in Edinburgh to involve citizens in a dialogue about our common future and have their say on decisions which impact them.

As Lord Provost and speaking on behalf of  Edinburgh as a member of EUROCITIES, I am glad to show support with the flying of the flag from the City Chambers, and committed to include our citizens in a dialogue about our future. Have your say and share your views online using #Cities4Europe.

Frank Ross

Lord Provost of Edinburgh

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