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Press Release

26/Jun/2014
Six Major European Cities meet at EIPA in Maastricht to share successful experiences of Public Finance Management

On Thursday 26 June, an agreement regarding the creation of the European City Economic and Financial Governance (CEFG) Group was signed between the City Council of Barcelona and the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) in Maastricht (the Netherlands). This agreement is an important starting point for an initial 18-month collaboration between the City of Barcelona and EIPA, involving five other larger European cities, namely Dublin (IRL), Hamburg (DE), London (UK), Milan (IT) and Vienna (AT) ), which represent a total metropolitan accumulated population of just over 30 million. Most of these cities received awards in the European Public Sector Award (EPSA) run by EIPA.

In 2012, the 600 top economic cities generated 60% of the global GDP, while being home to only 20% of the world’s population. In Europe, 67% of the GDP is produced in metropolitan regions. The progress and development of cities will thus not only determine the future territorial, (socio-)economic and spatial development worldwide, but also across Europe. However, growth and prosperity of cities critically depend on the way the evolving challenges of cities are managed.

This strategic and high-level partnership aims at benchmarking and creating a space for mutual learning in the field of economic and financial governance. The CFOs and finance managers of the partner cities will discuss and analyse in four meetings such burning issues as their budget practices, integrated financial management systems, their financial accounting practices in relation to the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS), as well as national and European accounting systems to discuss their effects on economic development and growth. Hence, it is paramount that cities engage in collaboration and efforts of harmonising their public sector accounting standards and systems to enable comparability between the financial and accounting data across European cities.

This timely initiative is supported through active participation by the European Commission – Eurostat – as it coincides with their efforts to formulate the ESA and EPSAS and to implement and apply them across the EU. The benefits of this project lie in the mutual administrative capacity-building approach, with inputs of real cases and practices from the city level in parallel to provide ‘a leap for transparency, accountability and sustainability of public finances’ (the group’s overall motto).

EIPA’s Director-General, Professor Dr Marga Pröhl, is proud that her Institute has been entrusted with such an assignment and to manage the CEFG network. ‘As one of the leading Institutes for public sector modernisation and development in Europe, we strongly believe in the importance and effectiveness of exchanging information, and transferring knowledge and best practices, so we are delighted to chair this group” she says.

‘The efficient and sustainable management of public resources has become a sine-qua-non prerequisite for economic growth and job creation’, comments Ms Sònia Recasens, Barcelona’s Deputy Mayor, when asked why signing today’s agreement was so important. She added ‘Deploying a common framework to discuss and develop accounting and financial issues is a critical step towards creating the right conditions for economic and social progress, and ultimately the welfare of our citizens across the EU.’

Mr Jordi Joly, Chair of the CEFG Group, has high expectations of this project. ‘I am confident that in the next 18 months, this working group will set the basis of collaboration to enable a new perspective on the role that public finances have in generating the right conditions for the economic and social growth of our cities. If we do so, a huge leap towards transparency, accountability and sustainability of the European public finances will have been achieved.’

Mr Onno Hoes, Mayor of Maastricht, witnessed the first milestone of this cooperation by welcoming the delegates from the City of Barcelona and the other City partners of the CEFG Group for an institutional visit to the Town Hall, after which the ceremony of the official signing of the agreement between the City Council of Barcelona and EIPA took place at EIPA’s Headquarters in Maastricht.

Maastricht (NL), 26 June 2014

For further information, please contact Mr Alexander Heichlinger, EIPA Expert and EPSA Manager, Co-chair of the CEFG Group, EIPA at j.bosse@eipa.eu or m.escola@eipa.eu

 

 

 

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