Last October 25 and 26, Rome hosted the European Metropolitan Authorities (EMA) forum, an initiative led by the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. On its fourth edition, the yearly conference has consolidated itself as the space of reference for the metropolises of the region to share experiences, foster joint projects and position themselves towards the European Union and national states. This year, the debates revolved around new metropolitan challenges regarding the environment, sustainable mobility and the global economy and social policies.
Representatives of more than 30 metropolitan authorities participated in the event, which was led by the Mayor of the Metropolitan City of Rome, Ms Virginia Raggi. In representation of the Metropolis membership, EMA 2018 counted on the attendance of Mr Jean-Luc Vanraes, Vice-president of Finances of the Brussels Capital-Region and Metropolis Treasurer, and of delegations from the Torino Metropolitan City and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.
Ms Anna Merlin, Councillor of Institutional affairs and European and international relations and projects of the metropolis of Torino, was one of the speakers of the event’s first discussion panel, dedicated to environmental policies. She underlined the concrete measures taken by her metropolitan government to tackle climate change, such as the implementation of green public procurement, the bans on polluting vehicules and investments in education from the earliest ages. In Torino, young metropolitan citizens are taught in school to cultivate green areas and measure grean house gas emissions, in a legacy for future generations.
The Metropolis Secretary General, Octavi de la Varga, in turn, moderated the last discussion panel of the conference, on October 26 about the impacts of globalization on metropolitan economies. One of the main conclusions of this panel is that metropolitan areas are key to face the challenges of economies in transition: as hubs of resources and opportunities, they are more than just the sum of municipalities, they are rather coordinated territories that are proposing new relations of work, production and consumption that emerge from citizen participation, and from the intelligence that lies in the use of technology by communities.
The conference culminated with the signature of the Rome Declaration by all its participants. This document asserts the commitment of European Metropolitan Authorities the continuation of political programmes based on cohesion, maintaining the current level of investment in regard to the European Union's financial budget after 2020, the strengthening of cohesion policies in the urban and metropolitan scope, and being active partners in the projection, execution and achievement of results. Click here to read the Rome Declaration [falta link].
EMA is an initiative promoted by the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, which has become a consolidated forum for the leaders of Europe's major metropolitan areas. Its previous editions took place in Barcelona (2015), Torino (2016) and Warsaw (2017). EMA’s 5th edition will take place in June 2019 and will be hosted by the metropolis of Grand Lyon.