Agenda item


            The Committee was reminded that Belfast had been a member of the Eurocities network for almost 30 years.  Eurocities was a network of more than 200 major European cities, across 38 countries, made up of the elected local and municipal governments of the major cities. The activity of the network was structured through a number of thematic working areas, including Cultural Development, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Placemaking and Sustainability.  Belfast had participated in a number of the groups, based on particular areas of need or interest to the council and the city at that time, and had also shared learning on a range of topics and had availed of the network to engage with the key EU institutions in order to influence policy. 


            The Director of Economic Development advised that, whilst the city had limited access to the transnational funds due to its withdrawal from the EU, this network was still nevertheless important in positioning the city and building strong networks to support shared learning and collaboration. 


            Within Belfast City Council, there were a number of areas in which officers had been engaged and which remained priority areas of focus.  These included:



·        Developing an innovative city – link to the Smart Belfast agenda and the work on the Innovation District;

·        Transitioning to a net zero and greener economy – link to the work on resilience and climate change, with a focus on developing collaborative activity and accessing new research and insights;

·        Internationalising Belfast’s cultural proposition – learning from FDI and city positioning work, particularly in post-Covid world; and

·        Cultural development and city animation – exploring the role of culture as a driver for city development – including both capital infrastructure and innovative programming.


            The Director of Economic Development pointed out that, in 2024, Belfast was due to hold the annual meeting of the Eurocities Culture Forum in September.  The Council’s bid to hold the event recognised the value of Belfast as a cultural capital and would present another opportunity to position and promote the city during this year of cultural celebration.  He explained that Belfast had last hosted the Eurocities Culture Forum meeting in March 2014.  During that event, more than 70 representatives from 58 cities attended to find out more about Belfast’s work in this space.  It presented a great opportunity to shine a light on the city itself but also on the rich cultural and artistic talent.


            He suggested that, taking into account the planned event in 2024 and the wider learning and opportunities presented by our engagement in the Eurocities network, it was proposed that the Council renewed its annual membership of the network for this year.


            During discussion, the Director of Economic Development explained further the potential economic benefits of remaining a Member of the Programme.


            After discussion, the Committee:


·        Approved the renewal of Belfast City Council’s membership of the Eurocities network, at a cost of €16,300 for one year; and

·        Agreed that a report be submitted to the Committee in relation to the future benefits of Eurocities Membership.


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