Jacek Majchrowski, prezydent Krakowa Mayor of Kraków
The modern world is in the grip of extremely intensive social and economic changes. The competing ideas of globalisation and the nation state bring many new problems and challenges. The third edition of the European Congress of Local Governments is, therefore, a great opportunity to discuss revolutionary and evolutionary ideas, solutions and concepts – regarding the vision of a new order for the world. Our Europe – so far shared, open, identifying new directions – is on the cusp of history.The Old Continent is no longer just the cradle of European values deriving its foundation from the ancient democracy but also a location seen as a promised land for those escaping from war-torn areas – frequently with completely different beliefs that are alien to us. We cannot, however, quit in fear, look away – pretend that the problem does not exist. History has taught us that indifference is the worst enemy. Therefore, we are all at a crossroads, looking for clues as to which path we should take in order to avoid risks and take advantage of the emerging opportunities. This is why it’s worth looking at this time of change and turmoil with optimism. It is worth finding the good sides and opening up to the unknown. The new perspective, embellished with a touch of realism of course, can in fact open up a new chapter for the world, for cities and regions – for us. The European Congress of Local Governments gives us a unique opportunity to develop a specific roadmap for cities and regions. I believe that, thanks to your participation and commitment, we have a chance to develop completely new ideas and solutions, so far overlooked, ignored or even derided as being too bold. I believe that, together, we can show Europe and the world, that the greatest strength and potential lie dormant in local government. Global problems arise from local disputes and conflicts – which is why solutions to the challenges posed by the twenty-first century should be sought in cities and regions.
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