Golden Stars of Town Twinning awarded by abstraks


									                                                                                               Karin Knopf
                                                                                               Delegate from Germany
Golden Stars of Town Twinning awarded

                                                                                                  Taking part in the debates and
                                                                                               workshops I start to believe that
                                                                                               European countries are well
                                                                                               prepared to the enlargement.
                                                                                               Obviously, there are
                                                                                               municipalities that are still afraid
                                                                                               that the integration process will
                                                                                               trigger an invasion of people
                                                                                               seeking a place to belong in our
                                                                                               country but it will change. What
                                                                                               I find particularly valuable is
                                                                                               that we talk mostly about
                                                                                               specific things that really
                                                                                               concern people, not only about
                                                                                               big politics. I think that it is
                                                                                               possible in Germany to
                                                                                               restructure the labor market so
                                                                                               as it can employ newcomers and
                                                                                               make it mutually beneficial.

                                                                                               Gabriele Panizzi
    “Golden Twinning Stars” were presented by the European Commission’s                        Former president
    representatives: Joao Vale de Almeida, Annemarie Bruggink, Risto Raivio. On the picture    of Latium region
    there are (from the left): Leon Jauzelon, Pouzauges (France), Patrick Nayl, Saint-Gilles   Italy
    Croix de Vie (France), Jacqueline Raveau, Ste Radegonde des Noyers (France).

  The “Golden Stars of Town Twinning”            twinning. The largest number of towns
have been officially awarded by the              participating in the twinning actions come
Commission’s Directorate-General for             from France (2804) and Germany (2327).
Education and Culture to ten local self-             “Town twinning is a great tool in
governments from the UK, Germany,                bringing forward the integration of
Italy, Hungary, Portugal, France and             Europe at grass-roots level. European
Latvia.                                          integration could not have progressed so
  Ten outstanding twinning initiatives           far without the willing efforts of
have been selected by an inter-                  individuals who dedicate their time to           Currently Europe faces
institutional jury. The jury based its           establishing partnerships with people and     the enlargement that is to be
choice on the following criteria:                organisations from other cities, towns and    followed by problems with
pedagogical merits of the project,               municipalities throughout Europe. This        cohesion. Many years ago
visibility, active participation of the local    year the European Commission is funding       comprehensive programs for
population, concrete results, potential for      some 1,400 town twinning partnerships         territorial development of
further developments. The European               worth EUR 12,000,000, in which two or         Europe were prepared.
Commission has been awarding “Golden             more towns or cities from different           Nowadays they require a new
Stars” every year to ten municipalities,         countries share ideas, explore solutions to   approach. Institutionality is
towns or counties for 10 years now.              common problems and discover each             the biggest problem: what
  Since 1990 more than 11,000 European           other’s cultural heritage” – said Viviane     institution would be responsible
cities have benefited from the                   Reding, European Commissioner for             for cohesion matters? Will it be
Commission’s financial aid to town               Education and Culture.                        local, regional, state, or
                                                                                               European authorities?
Mara Masi
                                                                       This year’s winners
Italy                                                      of the “Golden Stars of Town Twinning” are:
                                          The city of Bradford (UK) for inviting                   Pouzauges (F) for inviting with its neighbouring
                                        representatives from its twin city of Hamm in            rural localities their 53 Romanian partners to come
                                        Germany to come and plan joint actions for               to visit their French counterparts. This project is a
                                        the European Year of People with Disabilities.           very good example of co-operation between small
                                        The strong feature of this initiative: disabled people   rural communities.
                                        themselves plan their own actions.
                                                                                                   The city of Riga (Latvia) for organising an
                                          The city of Bremen (Germany) for organising            international conference (300 participants, 20
                                        a three-day conference in Gdaƒsk where young             countries represented) on the theme of “the city of the
                                        participants tackled questions on the future of          future”. Honoured guests were Riga’s partner cities.
   It is very important that so         Europe through role-plays, discussions and
many people had a chance to             seminars. Other participants came from Bremen’s             The small country town of Samuel (Portugal) for
express their opinion but the issues    German twin towns: Szczecin and Riga.                    organising a debate on the influx of migrants in order
and problems presented were new                                                                  to table ideas and share experiences. This debate had
to me. Cohesion policy is a very          Cormons (Italy) for organising a conference on         been launched in the context of the “Charter of
important matter and I hope that        musical traditions together with its partner cities      Europe”, a network of rural communities. Around
we will succeed in developing           from Austria, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Czech         the table, 15 rural communities from all over Europe.
practical solutions, although so far    Republic and Slovenia and with the support of
we have lacked specific methods.        the “Mitteleuropa” association.                            Santa Maria da Feira (Portugal) for initiating
Our concerns regard reducing the                                                                 a town twinning with the town of Targovishte
development fund we have used              Keszthely (HU) for organising Europe days: 4          (Bulgaria). In the framework of a conference on EU
so far. New member states of the        days of discussion and presentations on the future of    enlargement and town twinning, the Bulgarian
EU will certainly use subsidies for     Europe and on subjects which concern everyday life       representatives were provided with profound
local authorities and I often hear      in the regions such as mobility of young people and      knowledge of local administration and businesses
that we are seen as rich – through      tourist development. The Hungarians had invited          as well as Portuguese culture and traditions. The
comparison. That is not true.           their partner cities in the Netherlands (Hof Van         conference was also attended by 27 people from the
                                        Twente), Germany (Boppard) and Poland (Stary             town’s French twinning partner — Joué-les-Tours.
                                        Sàcz and J´drzejów) to participate in this event.
           Miros∏aw Szypowski
                                                                                                    The Szolnok county (Hungary) for organising a
       Deputy Mayor of Racibórz,
                                          The city of Nuremberg (Germany) for                    training seminar in which 39 towns from 9 different
                                        organising an exchange between two primary               countries took part. Entitled “European management
                                        school classes together with its twin city Prague.       of town twinning relations”, the seminar aimed to
   We don’t have the problems with
                                        On the programme: games, excursions, music,              promote town twinning as a means of establishing
asylum seekers the Germans or the
British have. Our problems relate to    theatre and many other educational activities.           stronger European citizenship.
repatriation of Polish families from
Kazakhstan. The community has
made the commitment to admit 1-2
families a year, ensuring jobs and                       Shaping a Europe of solidarity
accommodation. We are supported
by a foundation for repatriation          The special twinning session was aimed at              Ukraine that resulted in creating a day child care
with financial and organizational       determining the role of twinning in the                  centre in 2001. The centre is to a large degree
help. The issues raised in the          contemporary world. For 15 years, the twinning           financed from off-budget funds coming from
discussion confirm that the             partnership has developed to a great extent and now      the sale of second hand clothes. The city of Düren
repatriated are not adapted to our      covers many different areas. The project quality and     (Germany) presented an interesting initiative to
reality, hence the need to constantly   management have been improving, and projects             provide help to 180 fugitives from Gradacac in
stay in touch with them. Our            more and more frequently go beyond traditional           Bosnia. The project was aimed at encouraging
regulations are not adjusted to         actions. – At the beginning of the 21st century          the refugees to voluntarily return to their homeland
the process and our community is        Europe faces a new page of history – the European        while providing them with care and humanitarian
not mentally ready.                     Union will be enlarged by 10 new member states. In       aid. Similar actions to help cities exist after a war
   I think that after we join the EU,   these circumstances, twinning projects have a            or isolation period were mutually taken by Rheden
we will see inflow of immigrants        concrete task to fulfil. They should unite people that   (Netherlands), Cheb (Czech Republic), Fojnica
from the East, many Poles will          had been divided by the iron curtain – said Anders       (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Burgdorf
want to move from there and then        Knape, President of the CEMR twinning working            (Germany). Representatives of the Local
we will have to face that problem.      group, Mayor of Karlstad.                                Democracy Agency from Niksic in Montenegro
                                          The session focused on the presentation of             and Sisak in Croatia spoke about their actions to
                                        numerous examples of town twinning projects              promote democratic process, rights of minorities
Carina Sammeli                          which prepare the EU enlargement with new                and development of the citizens’ society. Together
Karlstad Municipality                   members and new neighbours, build solidarity and         with Mogiliano Veneto (Italy), Sisak has launched
Sweden                                  peace among nations and strengthen democracy             a campaign called “I can de-mine one square
                                        and respect for fundamental rights.                      meter” aimed at defusing the post-war mines in the
   We discussed how the                   Lublin has as many as 17 partner cities, including     former Yugoslavia.
integration and adaptation of new       one from the Ukraine (Brest) and one from Belarus          – Twinning projects are part of citizens’ Europe.
members of the European Union           (Lutsk). For many years now, Lublin has acted as         This is an important tool in building better
should look like. The mayor of          an ambassador of Europe towards its Eastern              relations between nations as it can make an
Malmo presented problems related        neighbours, which will be of vital importance for        essential contribution to build the identity of
to the integration in his               the latter when Poland accesses the EU. Since 1967       the new Europe. (...) The fundamental principle of
municipality and the mayor of my        Gladsaxe (Denmark) has played a similar role             town twinning is uniting people to enable them to
city – Karlstad – their situation.      towards Koszalin, and so has Oulu (Finland) being        get to know and understand each other better
And it turns out that the problems      in close partnership with Arkhangelsk (Russia).          – concluded Joao Vale de Almeida, Director, DG
are alike: people moving to EU’s          The audience was impressed by the joint project        Education and Culture, European Commission.
countries have the same problems,       of Eskilstuna from Sweden and L’viv from the                                             Joanna Proniewicz
                                                                                                                             irrespectively of their countries of
     European Cohesion Policy: workshop                                                                                      origin and destination. There are
                                                                                                                             regions in Europe, where population
    On the eve of the European Enlargement ensuring           The system of subsidies based on 75% GDP level would           should be increased but we have no
equal standards of life across the union is one of the most   be maintained until 2013 for the current member states.        ready formula for how to integrate
important issues. That topic was discussed at a workshop      A new system would need to be developed for the new            the newly arrived with the local
titled: Cohesion policy: support for unprivileged regions     states. However, other participants fiercely protested         community. It is good to hear what
– local and regional authorities as a development driver.     reminding that “the objective of the Union should be           others do in the respect and discuss
    As Louis Le                                                         reduction of disproportions between develop-         it because problems of integration
Pensec, chairman of                                                     ment levels of various regions”.                     are and will be an important
the meeting and                                                             Jan Olbrycht, former chairman of the Silesia     element of European policy.
Deputy President of                                                     Voivodship Council, said that the time has
CEMR, emphasized,                                                       come to ask difficult questions, such as how to
everything needed to                                                    combine joint European interest with interests       Anne Ruloffs
be done to prevent                                                      of specific regions and not let competing for        Delegate from Germany
widening regional                                                       money from the structural funds thwart
gaps in result of the                                                   paramount objectives. Rivalry between local
EU       enlargement.                                                   and regional authorities of various countries
Already now there are                                                   will strengthen positions of central
voices that 50 percent                                                  governments and weaken – of local authorities.
of the Union’s budget                                                   Over the next three years local and regional
is generated on 20%                                                     authorities of the newly admitted countries will
of its territory. After                                                 make a group of economically weakest
the integration the                                                     countries and by 2006 the states will have to
disproportion may                                                       develop a new formula beneficial to all the
grow. At this point the                                                 parties.
key task is to Louis de Pensec, moderator                                  A few participants emphasized that they              I am satisfied with the validity of
strengthen economic, of Cohesion Policy workshop                        could not accept renationalization of the            the problems approached at the
social, and territorial                                                 cohesion policy: to a large extent it should be at   congress, especially at workshops.
cohesion of rich and underdeveloped regions. It is not an     regional authorities’ discretion. The existing procedures      Here we can confront our self-
easy task on the brink of another accession of 10 new,        have to be streamlined and the role of the European            government experience gained
substantially poorer states.                                  Commission – limited.
                                                                                                                             during the long-standing
    Thus, structural funds that are a basic instrument used      The participants agreed with a delegate from Sweden,
                                                                                                                             cooperation with, for instance, twin
in realization of the goal will be reinforced with            who said that working on securing equal opportunities
                                                                                                                             cities and municipalities.
Cohesion Fund. But still the regions that are considered      must include equalizing opportunities for women.
the poorest, i.e. those receiving the most from the Union,       One of the Union’s major tasks should be development           We talk about solutions for
are afraid that they will loose on admitting new members.     of interregional, international, and cross-border              the future. You cannot escape from
The view was presented by Fabio Pellegrini from Italy,        cooperation: the delegates called for establishing             the problems of migration policy,
who proposed introducing double statistics: for the EU        a structural fund similar to INTERREG.                         neither in Europe, nor in... a
states in the current shape and after the enlargement.                        Hanna Hendrysiak, Robert Swornowski            municipality, although we still let it
                                                                                                                             slip out of control too often.

          Open borders – open hearts and minds                                                                                                    Ulla Olvebro
   Development of an agreement on conditions for              We know that employment policy change is related to                                  Headmaster
asylum seekers in 2002 has taken the European                 successful social policy. That is why tools for                      of Svenska Kommunforbundet
policy’s procedures of asylum right, family                   entrepreneurship support focus on inspiring and helping                            Lulea, Sweden
reunification and refugee status criteria into its            immigrants open small businesses and working on one’s
principal stage. – Even if European standards for the         own account. Emigrants and asylum seekers admit that              What do I find important? As a
issue are forged, the question if they will help              in England they care particularly about: preserving their      politician from Sweden I had an
municipalities admit and integrate refugees and               native language, religion, learning the language of            opportunity to learn opinions of
asylum seekers will still remain open – said Rein             the destination country and finding a job. We have that        politicians from other countries; to
Munniksma, mayor of Hunzeinl in Holland, opening              knowledge. Now we have to coordinate it and use in             discuss joint goals and shared
“Migration, asylum, integration” workshop.                    the integrated, open Europe. The role of local authorities     problems. I took part in a seminar
   Local authorities’ and residents’ experience suggests      in the respect remains most important.                         on immigration matters and it
that it is important to maintain balance in welfare              – We cannot treat immigrants as intellectually inferior,    turned out that we have the same
systems of communities admitting refugees. However,           we have to make every effort to give equal opportunities       views on many issues. The problem
while keeping close tabs on the budget one cannot             – said Ilmar Reepalu, Mayor of Swedish Malmö,                  of new immigrants from Eastern
remain indifferent about their poverty, and especially        Estonian by origin. – Overcoming physical barriers in          Europe does need a debate but I see
their children’s’. Processes of adaptation, acceptance,       Europe should entail taking mental barriers and opening        no reason for exaggerating it and
solving homelessness and getting a job do take long.          borders should come in tandem with opening hearts.             presenting as alarming or spreading
They cause tensions and incur costs in municipalities’           Integration programs for foreigners were presented by       panic or fear.
budgets. Even if we remain indifferent, the people do not     Günther Knapp, Deputy Mayor of German Rastatt,
disappear. Their fate should be responsibility of not only    where foreigners – mostly Turks – make up 25% of the
local authorities but also central governments of states      population. He believes integration activities should start    Hugo Richard
and the EU. Europe is growing old and has negative            in kindergartens and should include both children and          Representative of Maires
population growth. Giving support to young emigrants is       parents. In Rastatt the programs are implemented together      de Grandes Villes
also thinking of the future of Europe.                        with Catholic and Protestant Churches, Caritas recruiting      France
   Gaps between European and, for instance, Muslim            volunteers for work with migrants, a sport association,
societies keep growing but that does not matter that we       Red Cross. The assistance covers access to offices,               I am very pleased with the way
can cease to build multicultural societies.                   organization of free time, courses, discussion forums.         the debate develops so far. I find it
   Ruth Bagnell representing Cambridge City Council              Participants of the workshop decided to petition for        important that representatives of so
from England iterated that newcomers from all various         appending the final declaration of the General Assembly        many societies can talk to each
countries substantially enrich academic circles.              of CEMR with joint position of heads of 12 big European        other and exchange views. I am
However, 50 years of practice related to emigration is        cities on migration policy in the European Union.              happy that the committee’s position
perceived unfavorably by GB’s local municipalities.                                                  Barbara Kielczyk        on joint policy has been voiced so
Labor market remains the biggest obstacle to emigrants.                                                    Olga Kunze        clearly.
                              Study visit: participants learnt how
                       Wielkopolska Agriculture and Horticulture
                                    Wholesale Market functions

Delegates from Italy

Before lunch

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