Cologne in Europe
The European Union increasingly determines the legal and political context for local action, which is put into practice within the cities. Therefore European politics have long been a part of local politics.
As early as 1992 the City of Cologne recognized this development and set up an European office, which today has merged with its department of sister-cities.
In cooperation with European and international citynetworks, with the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, CEMR (www.ccre.org) and EUROCITIES (www.eurocities.eu) leading the way, town councils form a strong alliance in regard to supranational and international authorities at European institutions and panels.
This strengthens the position taken by the cities in fulfilling their duties and also provides locally orientated leeway.
Another focal point within European and international cooperation is the involvement in European funding programs. From 1992 the City of Cologne has been taking part in projects funded by the EU and also has been coordinating some of these projects all across Europe. Those projects are mostly executed as public private partnerships with other cities, businesses and research centres from all over Europe. Altogether this is an important contribution towards urban agenda of cities as well as boosting local and regional economy.
EU funding is primarily spent in projects concerning the environment and flood protection, energy efficiency, mobility, cultural heritage, city development, information and communication technology as well as management of catastrophes.
Cologne is a member of the four biggest city networks, which support cross-border cooperation between cities and local authorities on a practical level and form the basis for exerting influence on urban policy made by the European Union.
In addition, since 1992 the city of Cologne has been routinely and regularly involved in projects funded by the European Union, some of which it coordinates Europe-wide. The political foundation of Cologne's work in Europe is built on the council resolution dated 27 June 1996. The Office for International Affairs is also responsible for these European Union projects.
The City of Cologne has a range of other departments implementing European projects independently inasmuch as the relevant funding programmes are managed at state or federal level. These include:
Umwelt- und Verbraucherschutzamt
Amt für Schulentwicklung
Amt für Kinder, Jugend und Familie
Amt für Weiterbildung - Volkshochschule (VHS)