EU office: Newsletter - February 2020

30 years of equal opportunities in Chemnitz – Germany – Europe

Award ceremony for the International Gender Equality Prize.

The 30-year anniversary of equality work in Chemnitz is a chance to reflect on previous successes and take a look forward into the future. With Chemnitz signing the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life in October 2012, the city has been able to see how it measures up to the rest of Europe and share experience and insights with specialists from other European nations. The Gender-Equal Cities symposium coming up on 7 March 2020 will be an opportunity to discuss the issue further.

A representative from Chemnitz’s twin city Tampere will deliver the opening lecture. In 1906 Finland became the first country in the world to grant women full political rights – the right to vote and also to stand in elections. Since then, gender equality has been of huge importance to Finnish society. It comes as no surprise, then, that Tampere and Tampere Region have put equality high on the agenda in their application to become European Capital of Culture 2026. Furthermore, 2020 has been proclaimed the year of equal opportunities across all social groups: Tampere.Equallyyours.
In the presence of a delegation from Chemnitz, on 2 December 2019 the Finnish government awarded the non-governmental organisation Equality Now the International Gender Equality Prize, which it also funds, for the second time.
As the lead expert, Dr Mary Dellenbaugh-Losse provides an insight into the EU project GenderedLandscape. This URBACT project, headed by the Swedish city of Umeå, focuses on embedding gender mainstreaming in urban development. Chemnitz’s twin cities Ústí nad Labem, Łódź and Düsseldorf will also contribute to the project. Following this, participants will be able to share their experiences and ambitions regarding family friendliness, tackling discrimination, political participation, youth work and urban planning at various themed tables. A further aim of the symposium is to intensify collaboration between Chemnitz and its twin cities. 

The results will be integrated into Chemnitz’s second Equal Opportunities Action Plan and mapped out in an outcome document.

Equal Opportunities Action Plan

Der erste Gleichstellungsaktionsplan der Stadt Chemnitz ist 2016 erschienen.

The first Equal Opportunities Action Plan by the City of Chemnitz was published in 2016. (german)



The Environment and the Urban Planning Offices join forces on the HORIZON 2020 INTERLACE project

The international cooperation between various research institutions as well as six cities from Latin America and the EU seeks to find ways to maintain and restore ecosystem functions for a sustainable and resilient cityscape that offers an excellent quality of life. It focuses on issues such as renaturing brownfield sites or degraded areas using nature-based solutions (NBS).

INTERLACE employs a participatory approach to link up local players from a variety of sectors. Sensitive city areas often encompass ecological and social trouble spots that can be solved by working together. The participating cities are developing tools, guidelines and strategies to support sustainable urban development in collaboration with researchers. Building on this, the project is working to develop successful implementation concepts for measures that are tailored to the needs of the cities. The overall coordinator is the Ecologic Institut in Berlin.

The Climate Alliance, which Chemnitz has been a member of since 1993, coordinates the exchange of experience and expertise between the participating cities. Portoviejo (Ecuador), the Krakow Metropolis Association (Poland), San José (Costa Rica), Envigado (Colombia) and Cornellà (Spain) are also members of the partner network alongside Chemnitz.


solaris FZU sends and welcomes European volunteers

The European Solidarity Corps, formerly known as the European Voluntary Service, is a great opportunity for young people to get involved in building a social and diverse Europe. Building on its long experience in the European Voluntary Service, solaris FZU has been active in the European Solidarity Corps programme since 2015. It acts as a coordinating organisation and also sends and hosts volunteers. The organisation offers young people the chance to be sent on a partner project, prepares the volunteers for their assignments and takes care of the formalities. It also provides support during the ESC programme.

In turn, solaris FZU also invites volunteers from other European countries to complete their service at the organisation’s own facilities and provides assistance to cooperation projects over the course of the ESC programmes. The fields volunteers can work in are very varied: social, cultural or ecological projects enhance the young volunteers’ professional prospects, build their language skills and raise their intercultural awareness. It’s also a great way to learn and gain experience in a different country ‒ interesting, exciting and international! The person to contact at solaris FZU is Graziela Hennig.


EUROCITIES annual general meeting from 20 to 22 November 2019 in Prague
Over 400 politicians and experts from 85 member cities in the European network came together to explore the theme of “Cities at a Crossroads: Transformation and Renewal”. Discussion centred on urban development across Europe in the coming years, as well as how best to work alongside the newly appointed European Commission. It isn’t just the cities that find themselves in a state of transition; the network itself is transforming, too. A new strategy and goals have been adopted – towards more cross-sector work in specialist groups.

Chemnitz was an active participant in the conference. Mayor for Construction Michael Stötzer and City Councillor Susann Mäder joined 90 politicians to explore the role that cities play in the European Union. Work is currently under way on a new Urban Agenda, which will be geared towards meeting the UN’s sustainability goals. The implementation of this document will form the heart of the 2020 annual conference in Leipzig.

Sustainability and the conservation of natural resources was another key issue examined in Prague. Member cities showcased some enlightening proposals at an accompanying exhibition. Chemnitz contributed to the discussion with two posters: one on a joint cooling project at two sites of the Klinikum Chemnitz hospital and one on the design of the Moritzpark and the Auepark. Sarah Arnold, head of climate protection in the city administration, led a round of discussions on creating a heating action plan.

This time around, the award for excellence in Cooperation went to Antwerp. The city’s plans to complete a ring road had initially met with opposition from the local population. In response, a new governance model of active citizen participation was introduced. As a result, this initial resistance transformed into support thanks to the addition of more green space and additional cycle lanes, among other changes. The City of Munich won the Innovation Award for its creation of an arbitration team to manage conflicts in public spaces. In the Participation category, Zaragoza took home the prize for turning an abandoned factory into a vibrant cultural centre. The centre is co-managed and used by local residents at risk of social exclusion. This year, EUROCITIES also hosted an afternoon session during which four cities presented projects that did not go to plan ‒ a first in the event’s history. Challenges and mistakes were discussed in smaller panels so that participating cities could share experiences and come up with possible solutions together.

Nationwide EU Project Day enriches school lessons

A chance for pupils to speak to politicians.

To mark the last German Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2007, EU Project Day was launched by Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring young people in Europe closer together. Ever since then, EU officials and politicians have paid annual visits to German schools to talk to young people. The next Project Day will take place around 27 April 2020. All schools, including primary schools, are invited to register online. Teachers can design the course of the day with their pupils and be as creative as they like: for example doing planning games or a European quiz, or watching films. There are plenty of ideas and materials available on the Project Day website.

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