27 countries are part of the European Union, with a total of around 500 million citizens - most of them living in large cities and urban areas. Europe is facing different challenges such as ensuring the economic prosperity and sustainable development of our cities and regions, creating new opportunities for employment, strengthening social cohesion, and protecting our environment for future generations. These challenges can only be properly addressed if the different levels of public administration - cities and regions, national governments, and European institutions - are all working together. The impact of European Union can also be seen at the local level in cities and neighbourhoods - for example with regard to urban regeneration, pollution and waste, workers' rights and business opportunities. Each year, more of us are travelling across borders to study, to work, to do business, to make friends, or just to visit. In our time “Local governments have to be International” and cooperate with other cities.
Within this scope, Eurocities is the network of major European cities. Founded in 1986, the network brings together the local governments of more than 130 large cities in over 30 European countries. EUROCITIES provides a platform for its member cities to share knowledge and ideas, to exchange experiences, to analyse common problems and develop innovative solutions, through a wide range of Forums, Working Groups, Projects, activities and events.
Eurocities gives cities a voice in Europe, by engaging in dialogue with the European institutions on all aspects of EU legislation, policies and programmes that have an impact on cities and their citizens. The network is active across a wide range of policy areas including: economic development and cohesion policy, provision of public services, environment, transport and mobility, employment and social affairs, culture, education, information and knowledge society, governance and international cooperation.
Eurocities has 7 different platforms which are entitled; “Cooperation”, “Culture”, “Economy”, “Environment”, “Knowledge Society, Mobility”, “Social Affairs”. Beyoğlu Municipality is an active member of the Eurocities Network Culture Platform since 2006.
Moreover Beyoğlu Municipality hosted the Eurocities Culture Forum which was held between 16- 19 October 2008. During the Eurocities Culture Forum 2008 held in İstanbul, issues such as “Turkey Cultural Policies”, “Istanbul European Capital of Culture 2010”, “Young People, Culture, Dialogue and Inclusion” “Cooperation in Euro-Mediterranean Area” were presented by professionals in different fields.
Beyoğlu Municipality participate every year to several Eurocities’ Meetings, March 2010 in Bologna, October 2010 in Lublin, November 2010 in Zaragoza, March 2011 in Turku. 76 participants from 40 different countries participated to Eurocities Culture Forum to the first meeting of the year 2011 Eurocities Culture Forum in Finland, Turku between the 16th and the 19th of March.
The Forum’s main theme was “Culture for Well-Being” and it started with the welcome speech of Deputy Mayor of Turku, Mrs. Maija Kytta. Beside the main theme of “Culture for Well-Being”, “Cultural Policies and Budgets of Cities in National and Local Level” was another important issue. During the forum, 4 different working groups such as, “Youth and Culture”, “Accessible Culture”, “Ressources for Culture”, “Mobility of Artists” were held. The second day of the forum, Beyoğlu Municipality, took place as speaker at the Open Space Session of the Forum and shared its’vision, activities and especially the “2nd Intercultural Art Dialogue Days Festival” with the participants and invited them to the Festival in Beyoğlu.