Summary 2020: Pact of Free Cities, Committee of the Regions, Eurocities - International Cooperation of the Capital City.
Lessons learned in the struggle against coronavirus, access to EU funds and international solidarity were the main topics of the Warsaw’s foreign contacts in the past year
Despite the pandemic, the Capital cooperated with multiple cities and international organisations around the world.
We have participated in seminars and conferences at the invitation of Berlin, London, Prague, Bratislava, Florence, Paris and Los Angeles. We have also participated in meetings of the Bloomberg Foundation, C40 and Eurocities.
Representatives of the city and medical facilities were on a study visit to Berlin - learning about the coronavirus control system there.
Negotiations were also underway to procure additional protective measures and other medical supplies as part of the cooperation between sister cities Berlin and Taipei.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Polish local government, Warsaw also organised a debate on the transformations that will take place in European cities as a result of COVID-19. The mayors of Stockholm, London, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest took part in the online platform discussion.
Direct Access to EU funding – Covenant of Free Cities and Committee of the Regions
The Covenant of Free Cities aims to create direct funding for cities and regions - developments in the new EU perspective. Around this topic, numerous meetings have been held with representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament.
More than 300 representatives of Hungarian and Polish local government bodiess also took part in a joint action concerning the threat of a veto of the new EU budget.
A working group on green initiatives at the level of the cities of the Pact has been established. At the moment, preparations are under way to launch a scholarship programme. Meanwhile, during the deliberations of the European Committee of the Regions, the Mayor, Rafał Trzaskowski, was the spokesperson for the opinion on the Climate Pact - a comprehensive opinion on the position and priorities of cities and regions regarding the green agenda.
Last year Warsaw organised and coordinated two joint campaigns by local government bodies in Poland and Europe - International Day of Tolerance and Solidarity with Belarus. Both ended with an official summons.
Activities for the Belarusian Minority and Foreigners
Due to the difficult political and social situation in Belarus, a working group has been established in Warsaw. It is developing procedures for action in the event of a sudden increase in the number of Belarusians fleeing persecution to Warsaw. Additional psychological support, legal and language counselling was prepared as part of the activities of the Multicultural Centre. The Capital has supported the Belarusian community in Warsaw.
In cooperation with the Belarusian House Foundation and the History Meeting House in Warsaw, we prepared the exhibition “Belarus. The Road to Freedom”, highlighting last year’s protests against the rigging of presidential elections and human rights violations.
These activities were intended not only to express solidarity with neighbours fighting for democracy, but also to assist Belarusians, who have decided to make their future in our city, in feeling at home in Warsaw.
The City prepared an information guide in Ukrainian, Belarusian and English, as well as a blueprint for an English-language version of the new Information Portal of the City of Warsaw. Furthermore, a survey of foreigners - Warsaw residents - was conducted. We acquired knowledge about their needs and evaluation of the city’s activities. A better cooperation between foreigners and the City of Warsaw is to be the result.
Eurocities and Other Associations – Working in Partnership
Warsaw’s accession to the Mayors for Peace network of cities has been completed. Additionally, our city’s representative, Natalia Boitot from the International Cooperation Office, was re-elected to the position of Vice-President of the EUROCITIES Cities Network Food Working Group; and once again we undertook the function of treasurer of this organisation and participated in the work of the Network’s Management Committee.
It is worth remembering that in 2021 there will be the 30th anniversary of the Warsaw-Berlin cooperation agreement and the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Good Neighbourhood and Friendly Cooperation between Poland and Germany, as well as the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Warsaw-Istanbul cooperation agreement.