Barcelona | Municipal diplomacy at debate in Barcelona
DIPLOCAT and the Provincial Council of Barcelona hold a conference with international representatives
The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) and the Provincial Council of Barcelona organized today a conference on municipal diplomacy experiences within Europe. The meeting was attended by several Catalan mayors and deputy mayors and four foregin local oficials: the Mayor of Udine (Italy); the Mayoress of Tromsø (Norway); the Mayor of Den Bosch (Netherlands); and the Deputy Mayor of Piła (Poland).
In the opening session, Jaume Ciurana, Member of the Board of the Provincial Council of Barcelona, underlined the growing international influence of local governments and argued that municipalities should be active in the defense of democracy around the world. Albert Royo, Secretary General of Diplocat, recalled that a large variety of actors can perform public diplomacy, including municipalities of course, "although the Spanish government does not want or seem to know it according to their appeal against the Catalan Foreign Law". Marina Falcó, General Director on External Relations of the Catalan Government, also stressed the growing international role of Catalan municipalities and encouraged them to continue this way.
Keynote speech: City Diplomacy: an Analytical View
Sean Aday, Director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at the George Washington University, made a keynote speech on the loss of the monopoly of international relations by nation-states and the wide range of opportunities this represents for other actors. Some of the aspects to which he referred in speaking of city diplomacy were the importance of having a long-term strategy, with durable actions, and the convenience of using social networks to engage with citizens.
Three round tables followed discussing some good practices of municipal diplomacy carried out in Catalonia and in several European countries, as well as the options and assets of municipalities in diplomacy and how they have begun to develop an international strategy of its own in recent years, beyond the traditional European programs and city twinnings.
Panel 1: Cities as International Actors. Best Practices
The first round table, chaired by Jaume Ciurana, focused on cities as internationals actors. The participants from Catalonia were Dionís Guiteras, Mayor of Moià and first Vice-president of the Barcelona City Council; Oriol Lladó, Deputy Mayor of Badalona; Josep Mayoral, Mayor of Granollers; and Àngels Chacón, Deputy Mayor of Igualada. Participants from other European countries were Furio Honsell, Mayor of Udine (Italy); Kristin Røymo, Mayor of Tromsø (Norway), and Beata Dudzińska, Vice Mayor of Piła (Poland).
Panel 2: The Role of City Networks in Municipal Diplomacy
The second panel, chaired by Manuel Manonelles, Director General for Multilateral and European Affairs of the Catalan Government, tackled the role of city networks in municipal diplomacy. The participants were Emilia Sáiz, Deputy Secretary General, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); Carlos Mascarell, Policy Officer of Governance and Citizenship of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR); Ton Rombouts, Chair of the Committee on European and International Affairs of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities, Mayor of ‘s Hertogenbosch and Vice-Chair of the UCLG Commission on Development Cooperation and City Diplomacy; and Marc Pifarré, Secretary General, Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM).
Video of Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR
During the event it was shown a video of Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), who finally could not attend the conference.
Panel 3: The City Lobby in the European Union
The last round table, chaired by Ferran Tarradellas, Head of the Representation in Barcelona of the European Commission, looked at city lobbies in the European Union. The participants were Philip McCann, Professor of Urban and Regional Economics at the University of Sheffield and Special Adviser to the EU Commissioners for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn (2010-2013) and Corina Creţu (2015-2016); Carles Llorens, Secretary General, United Regions Organisation (ORU-FOGAR); and Dani Castejón, technical officer in the URBACT network Retailink.
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Last updated: 20 June 2017