8. Make the most of European city networks
We want to work over the long term with the cities involved in the project, especially with regard to their European orientation, while also fostering their integration into European networks.
European cultural capitals
On the one hand, we cooperate with cities that are applying to become the European Capital of Culture in 2025. Our first stop took us to Magdeburg, where that city alongside the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt is taking their European ambitions very seriously and attaching great importance to involving their citizens in the application process. Participation in the competition compels cities to develop plans for the future that have a European dimension in dialogue with their citizens; this means that residents living in these candidate cities often develop a stronger awareness for Europe. Accordingly, in Magdeburg, we encountered many interested and open-minded people who were very willing to report on their city’s European ambitions. We want to build on this trend. The example of Magdeburg shows that the cities applying to become the official European Capital of Culture can act as effective contact points for initiatives seeking to connect the European Union with citizens in their regions and cities. Seeing as the application process for all candidates interested in becoming a European Capital of Culture is quite elaborate and time-consuming, one inevitably notices a tangible evolution of programmes in those cities as well as increased cooperation with citizens. Even cities that do not make it onto the jury’s shortlist hold the potential of becoming important contact points.
Cities for Europe
On the other hand, after every workshop, we invite city-government actors to join the Cities for Europe network network organised by our project partners at Stiftung Zukunft Berlin. This network serves not only to foster exchange on particular themes among cities themselves; it also works to implement the European dimension of cities based on eight direct working themes and helps to bring European city governments, administrations and urban society actors together in joint cooperation measures.
By doing this, we encourage cities to explore their own potential for Europe over the long term rather than merely for the duration of a project.