City Council Member for International Cooperation phD Dobrica Milovanovic, who is also vice president of the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA), with central office in Strasbourg, had an opportunity to be one of the few participants, not coming from the European Union countries, at the Summit of Cities and Regions held in Copenhagen on 22nd and 23rd of March.
Fifth Summit of Cities and Regions of the European Union is ranked among the most important events in Denmark during her presidency. Summit was attended by top officials of the European Union, in the first place President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and chairman of the Committee of European Regions Mercedes Brescia, as well as the highest officials from Denmark, headed by the Danish prime minister Helle Thorning Schmidt, who also presides the Council of the European Union.
The Summit brought together about 300 mayors and presidents of European regions in order to share their experiences and thoughts in creating such a model of sustainable urban development that will help the EU to become a leader in the fight against climate changes and in the use of renewable energy sources. On Summit was also discussed about the issues related to economic development, employment, social inclusion, education, provision of better public services. On that occassion, the key role of cities and regions in transition to "green" economy and bridging the gap between the EU and its citizens, was emphasized.
The summit was followed by an exhibition that illustrated examples of best practices in sustainable development in around twenty of European cities and regions. The need for more intensive cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experience was indicated with this exhibition.
The conclusion of the Summit in the form of "Copenhagen Declaration" is that Europe has to rely on its cities in order to regain the initiative in the field of sustainable development, especially in a way that transition towards "green economy" has become a practical reality in our everyday lives. For that purpose they need the political and financial autonomy. President of the European Commission Barroso confirmed that through appropriate legislation and the budget they will take care of the balanced development of all the regions, both in countries that are EU members, and those that will become members in the future.
The summit was an opportunity to represent the environment that I come from, said Dobrica Milovanovic for the city web site, to represent a city that is striving for decentralization of Serbia by European standards, and that, realizing the importance of better communication with European partners, has first in Serbia opened an office in Brussels .
During his stay in Copenhagen Dobrica met with President of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, who as a friend of Serbia, said that he supports our rapid progress towards membership. Chairperson of the Committee of the Regions Mercedes Brescia, that comes from the Italian region of Piedmont, whose capital city is Torino, Milovanovic met with the progress of preparations for the manufacture of Fiat cars in Kragujevac.