Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Town twinning

Citizenship - 10.02.2005

Forum on active citizenship : CEMR calls for twinning to be better publicised across Europe
The chair of CEMR's working group on town-twinning, Anders Knape, has called for town-twinning to be more and better publicised, on 3 February 2005 in Brussels.
Speaking at the consultative forum on the future action plan for European active citizenship, Anders Knappe said : Some people are not convinced by the advantages and the role of town-twinning in Europe, in a world weher we easily travel from one side of the globe to another. But town-twinning gives European citizens the chance to meetto discuss important issues of relevance to their daily lives such as the environment, racism, education... When you travel on holiday or for work, you do not have the opportunity to talk about these issues with other Europeans.
We must publicise the added value of town twinning, encourage other municipalities to follow the movement. These exchanges put together Europeans from all sections of our society : students, teachers, the disabled, elected representatives, artists...
CEMR secretary general, Jeremy Smith, also addressed the floor and chaired the workshop on twinning actions as well.. CEMR firmly supports the active European citizenship programme, however twinning must retain its individul identity. it must not be subsumed within the active European citizenship programme. We also call for the new twinning programme not be so bogged down in the excessive bureaucratic labyrinth that is the current financial regulations.
CEMR also expresses the wish that the Twinning programme will not be moved into the hands of NGOs and other organisations. Town-twinning finds its roots and its raison d'être in European local governments; that is where it must remain : at the heart of local governments and their associations.
Some 300 participants attended the forum, including representatives from towns and municipalities, the European Commission, NGOs as well as numerous European federations and associations.
The 2005 "Golden stars" were awarded at the occasion of the forum. The Golden stars are awarded every year to municipalities that show the best achievements in town twinning. The 2005 winners are Specchia (Italy), Busko Zdroj (Poland), Haukipudas (Finland), Stenheim (Germany) and Szigetszentmiklos (Hungary).
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