The President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Mercedes Bresso, addressing the Vice-Premier of China, Li Keqiang, and the Mayor of Beijing, Guo Jinlong, called upon the Mayors of China to forge closer ties with Europe's cities and regions in tackling climate change. Speaking at a joint conference on urbanisation held by European Union (EU) and China, President Bresso reiterated the importance of cities being, "an important solution to the global quest for sustainable development" and proposed a potential partnership between the CoR and the China Association of Mayors.
Arguing that Mayors were the, "front line drivers of sustainable development", Bresso emphasised the importance of sharing knowledge and developing cooperation between cities. Having referred to the European example of the Covenant of Mayors, she noted that the CoR had also made headways in establishing a global network of cities and regions, citing the agreements written up with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, before calling for the, "China Association of Mayors to consider a similar step forward. That would be our reach for the EU-China Mayors' Forum later this year." President Bresso said that towns and cities were, "vital stages in the democratic process and laboratories where power evolves at the service of social justice and progress" as stated in the Copenhagen Declaration that was adopted by the CoR at the Copenhagen Summit in March earlier this year.
EU-Chinese collaboration on sustainable development has been high on the political agenda. During the recent Copenhagen Summit, José Barroso, the President of the European Commission, had referred to this growing partnership saying that, "Just recently, in China, we have celebrated with our Chinese partners a Partnership for Urbanisation, where the Chinese want to learn from our experience of developing urban areas, namely in terms of sustainability." This relationship was formalised today in Brussels when the EU -China Urbanisation Partnership was signed by President Barroso and the Chinese Vice-Premier, in the presence of a delegation of European Mayors led by President Bresso, and a delegation of Chinese Mayors. This dialogue is expected to continue at the EU-China Mayors' Forum that will take place later this year.
Notes to editor
The conference, entitled "EU-China Urbanisation Partnership", was organised the Friends of Europe and focused on consolidating EU-China efforts in finding solutions to the common challenges of urbanisation. President Bresso joined a number of other speakers including Li Keqiang, the Vice-Premier of China, Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the European Commission, Staffan Nilsson, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee and Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy.
Find out more information about the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership event
Photos of the event can be found here