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City networks are not the only way of cities seeking to gain international visibility and access to policies, politics and economic developments at that scale. Individual cities may well ‘go it alone’, with the larger metropolitan areas and, especially, the ‘global cities’, primary candidates for singular city-to-city or city-to-international organisation engagement, because of their institutional capacity, likely economic foundations and ambitions. In this way, the EU offers a unique and distinctive context through its history of region-focused, i.e. sub-nationally oriented, policy measures. This is one of the decisive differences to the situation in North America, for instance, as discussed in Chap. 6. The growing focus on devolution of responsibilities as part of the multi-level governance discussed in Chap. 3, has encouraged cities to step out of their regional and national contexts and seek to utilise EU funding and administrative regimes to boost, and lobby for, their own interests outside national institutional straitjackets. This has taken two main avenues: (1) bilateral, at times, multi-lateral, action by cities, such as through ‘town twinning’, and (2) cities establishing international offices in Brussels, following in this effort by regions, to lobby EU institutions and act as marketing and communication offices for international business. While the former has developed since the 1950s, in response to the traumatic experiences of the Second World War, as well as an integral part of the EU’s policies to foster integration, the second is a much more recent development. Driven by growing pressures for raised competitiveness under the impact of increasing globalisation, cities (and regions) have begun, since the mid to late 1990s, to enter the international—and global—arena of capitalism in an attempt to carve out new opportunities and stakes in economic development beyond those available as part of a nation state’s economic space. This chapter will examine the two main policy frameworks within which cities establish direct international relations with other cities of IOs: the city twinning scheme and the EU’s European Capital of Culture scheme.
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- Individual Initiatives by Cities in Europe
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Chapter 5
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