Welcome

Eurocities 2024
Cluj-Napoca

Welcome to Cluj-Napoca, ‘the Heart of Transylvania’, where tradition meets innovation. Through the Eurocities conference, you can experience the vibrant blend of our community through green, innovative, and resilient initiatives.

29 – 31 May 2024

eurocities2024@c-edu.ro  │  conferences@eurocities.eu

Dear guests,

A heartfelt welcome to our home, Cluj-Napoca!

It is a great honor for the City of Cluj-Napoca to host you all in our home, one of Europe’s beating hearts.

The annual conference will offer our local community insight into the relevance and importance of collaboration among European cities. Additionally, it will be a wonderful opportunity for us to present and welcome all esteemed members of our most important European cities network to the heart of Transylvania.

Yours truly,
Mayor Emil Boc & Cluj City Hall Team

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

Eurocities Annual Conference 2024 Cluj-Napoca and General Assembly

Being held one week before the European Parliament elections, the conference presents a unique opportunity for city leaders to share their experiences and expectations for the next five years. It aims to form a strong alliance with the upcoming European Parliament and Commission to shape the future of our continent and the planet. Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca will showcase how cities are becoming greener, more innovative, and more resilient by nurturing local ecosystems and talents.

Join us at Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca, where we wish to inspire other cities, share solutions and tools, and seek support for cities facing challenges.

Europe starts in Cluj-Napoca

As members of the Eurocities family of cities, we aim to provide you with the opportunity to feel at home in the heart of Transylvania. Here, as in each of your amazing cities, we are working and collaborating towards a better tomorrow—a future envisioned as Green, Innovative, and Resilient.

Cluj-Napoca, known as “the Heart of Transylvania,” is recognized as the cultural and economic capital of the region. It boasts a rich history and culture, where local identity harmonizes with European values. With its strong academic heritage, Cluj-Napoca nurtures a creative, dynamic, and vibrant community, emphasizing cooperation as a pivotal factor in sustainable local development.

Cluj-Napoca is the second-largest city in Romania. Thus, anyone can easily reach here through various means: by plane, by train, by car, or by bus. In terms of accommodation, we have a multitude of options that cater to every taste. We await you for a complete cultural experience in the Heart of Transylvania.

SPECIAL EVENT IN CLUJ-NAPOCA

Cluj Days 2024
30 May – 2 June

Cluj Days provides the perfect setting to bring people together and creat authentic connections. The soul festival of Cluj is unique in the way it engages the entire community, being creative, dynamic, colorful, multicultural, connected and inclusive.

We encourage you to join Cluj Days to fully experience Cluj-Napoca, the heart of Transylvania.

Let's get you comfortable

Participation fees

Eurocities members:

  • Eurocities members from the EU, UK, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland: EUR 280
  • Eurocities members from other European countries (Non-EU Member State): EUR 180
  • External participants (Non-Eurocities Members): EUR 380 

The payment will be processed in the Romanian national currency, Leu (RON).

The fees include conference participation, as well as dinners/receptions and study visits.

Getting to Cluj

Cluj International Airport is the most important gateway to the north-western region of Romania, and the second busiest airport in Romania, with national flights to Bucharest and international flights to over 20 countries. 

More than 40 scheduled destinations are operated by ten passenger airlines: Tarom, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, Wizz Air, Blue Air, Turkish Airlines, HiSky, Ryanair, Fly Dubai, Animawings, and Air Bucharest.

 You can easily get to the heart of the vibrant Cluj-Napoca city by bus or by taxi in only 20 minutes and for less than 5 euros, the airport is located only 2.5 miles from the city centre. 

Find more information about flights to and from Cluj-Napoca on the Airport’s official website www.airportcluj.ro or on the official social media platforms. 

The Cluj-Napoca Train Station is the main train station serving Cluj-Napoca. The city offers connections with the majority of Romanian cities, as well as service to Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria. 

The direct train from Cluj-Napoca to Vienna is provided by the Austrian state railway carrier OBB that has launched the new train called Transilvania on the 9th of December 2019. 

To check the latest train schedules for domestic routes please visit the website of the Romanian Railways: www.cfrcalatori.ro 

Situated at the junction of four European roads and crossed by the Transylvania Highway, Cluj-Napoca is accessible by both car and by bus. Even though this choice of traveling might take you some more time, it is definitely worth it. Find inspiration in nature’s many wonders crossing the Transfăgărășan road which the Top Gear crew named the best road in the world. With stunning mountain scenery, breathtaking lakes, fortresses, historical churches and countless waterfalls, the road descends right through Moldoveanu and Negoiu – the highest peaks in Făgăraș Mountains and in Romania. When you get to Cluj, gain more time for sightseeing by leaving your car in one of the city’s four parking spaces.

Book a room

In order to access the preferential rates for this event, please click here, select the check-in and check-out date, number of guests and insert the code Eurocities2024 and then follow the steps (choose the period, number of persons, type of the room, etc).

Please find bellow our updated offer for accommodation:

  • Classic room single use: 105 euro/night
  • Classic room double use: 120 euro/night
  • Deluxe room single use: 120 euro/night
  • Deluxe room double use: 135 euro/night

Check-in starts at 2 PM and the check-out ends at 12 PM

The rates include: Breakfast, VAT , wireless internet, access to outside swimming pool, access to fitness room and exterior parking.

To facilitate your accommodation offer, the following steps need to be taken:

1. Access Our Website: Visit our official website at Radisson Blu Hotel Cluj to begin the booking process.

2. Choose the Period: Select the dates of your stay, specifically from 28 May to 31 May 2024, to ensure availability for the Eurocities event.

3. Select Rates and Enter Promotional Code: Navigate to the “Selected Rates” tab during the booking process. Enter the promotional code CITIES24 to unlock the special rate of 141 euros per night. For double use, a charge of 18 Euros will be added to the price per night, considered as a promotional breakfast fee. Please note that this rate includes bed and breakfast, VAT, free WiFi, access to the fitness room, but excludes the city tax of 0.50%.

4. Complete the Booking: Follow the prompts to complete the booking process. Ensure that all necessary information is provided accurately.

If you encounter any issues during the booking process or have specific requirements, please feel free to contact our reservations team at reservations.cluj@radissonblu.com (M-F 09:00 – 17:00) or info.cluj@radissonblu.com (24/7).

Kindly note we have retained a number of 40 Standard Rooms for the period of May 28th to May 31st 2024.

For the period of the Eurocity Forum 2024, the event code is Eurocity2024 and reservations can be made by emailing reservations@hotelnapoca.ro.

Rates are 100 euro/night/single room and 110 euro/night/double room, and include breakfast, parking and all taxes.

Venues & Programme

VENUES

Grand Hotel Italia (Trifoiului Street) is the main conference venue where the following events will take place: registrations, focus sessions and political tracks, speed networking, the general assembly, and the Gala dinner & Eurocities Awards ceremony.

Radisson Blu (Stadionului Alley) is the additional venue where the welcome dinner and the afterparty will take place.

PROGRAMME

Since the global pandemic, European cities need to change their ways of working in response to several crises, including the war in Ukraine and the ongoing challenges posed by climate change.

Today, cities must build a green, innovative, and resilient Europe for all. At our annual conference in Cluj-Napoca, 29-31 May 2024, we will illustrate how cities are addressing evolving needs and increasing the well-being of their inhabitants in a changing world.

Political track sessions

May 30th

Global instability and an increasingly fragmented political landscape pose significant challenges for cities and local governments. These dynamics lead to community tensions, undermining social cohesion and posing a threat to the democratic fabric of our societies. Additionally, the proliferation of fake news and declining trust in governmental institutions, especially among young people, exacerbate these challenges.

Against the backdrop of the EU elections, certain political forces might exploit this situation to fuel discontent and widen societal divisions for their electoral gain. This alignment of global instability, information erosion, and political fragmentation underscores the urgent need for proactive measures to safeguard the foundations of our local democracies, rebuild trust and foster a resilient and united front within the EU political landscape.

• Burkhard Jung, Eurocities President & mayor of Leipzig
• Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council
• Erion Veliaj, mayor of Tirana
• Juhana Vartiainen, mayor of Helsinki
• Moderated by Aitor Hernàndez-Morales, Politico

Climate change and growing social inequalities pose a real challenge to the EU, and cities play a crucial role in addressing and mitigating their impacts. Mayors have put in place strong local agendas and are committed to deliver, but the resources available are insufficient: EU and national subsidies and transfers fall short of meeting the demand, and this financing gap remains a pressing barrier to climate-related and social infrastructure action.

This exchange between city leaders and EIB representatives will discuss the topic, covering cities’ experience with financing and the obstacles encountered, as well as the role of the EIB lending and advisory services in closing the investment gap for climate and social infrastructure projects; and providing a platform for dialogue between EIB representatives and Eurocities political leaders to further advance cooperation on the issue.

• Emil Boc, mayor of Cluj-Napoca
• Kyriacos Kakouris, Vice President EIB
• Julia Okatz, Director at Systemiq
• Moderated by Aitor Hernàndez-Morales, Politico

May 31st

The Eurocities Women Leaders Circle aims to foster a strong community among women in political leadership roles within the network. The goal of the Women Leaders Circle breakfast session is to establish a dialogue platform, enabling female elected representatives to exchange experiences and address the challenges encountered in their political journeys. Additionally, the session will introduce the Eurocities’ Strategy on Gender Equality and Women City Leaders mentorship program. This program aims to foster women’s leadership in city governance by connecting female politicians, creating a supportive network, facilitating knowledge exchange, enhancing leadership skills, and fostering personal and political growth.

• Olivera Injac, Mayor of Podgorica
• Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor of Lodz
• Hélène Duvivier, Vice President of Lyon Metropole

Focus Sessions

May 30th

Cities are at the forefront of driving a climate-resilient society through innovation and collaboration, mobilizing all stakeholders and taking united actions toward a greener, inclusive and a sustainable future.

This session will focus on innovative governance approaches and tools, providing inspiring examples of cities’ pivotal role in leading the systemic transformation required to achieve the climate neutrality goals in the context of the EU 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 mission.

– Ovidiu Cimpean, Secretary of State, Ministry of
Investments and European Projects, Romanian
Government
– Konrad Fijołek, Mayor, Rzeszow
– William Wolfgramm, Deputy Mayor, Cologne
– Anna Lisa Boni, Deputy Mayor, Bologna
– Elsbeth Visser, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor
Sustainability, Amsterdam
– Carlos Ribeiro, General Coordinator Mission Structure
Guimarães 2030, Guimarães
– Victoria Zinchuk, Director European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Romania

The challenges that city governments face are increasingly complex and intertwined. In recent years, cities have responded effectively to the impact of Covid-19, as well as dealing with high numbers of refugees and the effects of climate change. Innovation and agility are essential attributes of city governments in the 21st century.

This session will explore what it takes to make innovation a reality in our cities. We will ask bigger questions about the role of innovation in improving citizens’ quality of life and enabling cities to respond to increasingly complex urban challenges. This session will also reflect on the findings from the LSE Cities/Eurocities survey on government innovation to ask bigger questions about the role of innovation in improving quality of life for citizens and enabling cities to respond to increasingly complex 21st century challenges.

– Catarina Heeckt, LSE Cities
– Ben Rogers, LSE Cities
– Vincent Languille, Councillor, Aix-Marseille-Provence
Metropole
– Christina Schepper-Bonnet, Munich
– Anton Nikitin, Vilnius
– Bojan Mrazovac, Cluj-Napoca & University of Novi Sad

The session will dive into how upskilling and reskilling programmes can foster social inclusion in cities. For the digital and green transformation, enhanced skills and education are essential to equip people with the knowledge and capabilities needed to match the needs of the labour market. Skills development also plays a critical role when boosting the local production capacity of clean technologies for EU’s green transition.

This session will discuss the skills required for an ever-changing labour market and the risk of social exclusion in the digital and green transformation. It will explore innovative reskilling and upskilling (and/or talent attraction and retention) strategies required for skills-building, in the context of the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan. The session will also delve into those programmes’ impact on fostering social inclusion and increasing participation in local decision-making process.

– Kristine Langenbucher, Head of Unit, Employment and
Skills · OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship
– Eileen O´Sullivan, deputy mayor, Frankfurt
– Faouzi Achbar, deputy mayor, Rotterdam
– Robert Tantet, Lyon Metropole
– Prof Calin Hintea, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca

The first EU Climate Risk assessment, to be published in March 2023, will assess climate change impacts and the risks for the environment, economy and wider society in Europe. Following the publication of the assessment, this session will look into how European cities are mainstreaming climate risk assessment and preparation into local policies, to increase their resilience to climate shocks and ensure they carry out risk-informed planning.

– Sofia Heden, Deputy mayor, Malmo
– Bilyana Raeva, Councillor, Varna
– Alessandra Barbieri, Florence
– Anouk Teuns, Utrecht

Cities have always been associated with transformative ideas and novel initiatives. Besides hosting technological progress, cities are also enabling various other types of innovation: entrepreneurial, social, and cultural.

This session will offer an overview of how innovation unfolds locally, understanding the multi-stakeholder dynamics of different urban innovation ecosystems including set-up and scale-up policies as well as their interaction with local actors (government, academia, companies, 3 citizens). It will discuss the potential of reinforcing local innovation eco-systems in Europe, including delivering on Europe’s green industrial transition, as well as barriers and how to overcome them.

– Klaus Rosenau; deputy mayor, Munster
– Roelof Bleker, mayor, NetwerkStad Twente
– Isabelle Sioen, Ghent
– Caroline Nevejan, Amsterdam

Practical Information

Welcome to Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca! To ensure your experience is as pleasant as possible, from the very first second to the last minute, we would like to highlight some useful information:

At the Airport

On 29 May and 30 May, there will be a dedicated Eurocities 2024 info point to welcome you at the airport and offering information and guidance on the transfers to the partner hotels (Grand Hotel Italia, RadissonBlu and Grand Hotel Napoca), or useful tips on how to get to your accommodation if you are staying at another hotel.

Volunteers will guide you to dedicated buses transferring you to the 3 partner hotels. Once in the bus, the order and name of the stops will be clearly marked.

For arrivals on Wednesday 29 May after 17.00 – please note that the time to transfer to the centre will not allow you to stop and refresh at Grand Hotel Italia or Napoca. Buses will come straight to the informal welcome dinner – at Radisson Blu Hotel. We can store your luggage in the sports lounge to allow you to enjoy the dinner, which starts at 19.00. 

At the end of the dinner – around 22.00 – dedicated buses will take you and your luggage to the Grand Hotel Italia and Grand Hotel Napoca.

 

Getting around in Cluj-Napoca

For your entire stay in Cluj-Napoca, your participation badge to Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca gives you full access and free transportation in the entire public transport network of Cluj-Napoca during the event on May 29 – 31.

Registration will take place in Grand Hotel Italia lobby as follows: 

  • May 29th: 12.00 – 19.00
  • May 30th: 08.00
  • May 31st: 08.00

NTT DATA Romania, the digital partner of Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca, will provide participants with an additional personalised badge. 

The information on the special badge will provide you guidance to immerse in a digital experience, during the closing plenary on May 31, as well as the access to a site visit to NTT Data headquarters – especially prepared for you in the afternoon of May 31.

Each morning, on May 30 and May 31, dedicated buses will ensure transfers from Radisson Blu and Grand Hotel Napoca to Grand Hotel Italia, the main venue for Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca.

Volunteers will be guiding you from the hotel info point (please look for the event visuals) to the buses at 7.30 each morning.

In case you have not yet done so, we encourage you to add the details on your travel time from the airport in the registration platform, as we promise to make your experience complete and fully enjoyable in Cluj-Napoca.

Please note that buses will depart May 31 from Grand Hotel Italia to the airport.

In case you have to leave during/straight after the conference, please take your luggage with you to Grand Hotel Italia – since you will be able to store it safely in the hotel dedicated room.

Buses will leave from the front of the hotel to the airport – and there will be a volunteer at the info point – to pre-schedule your transfer. More info on transfers will be updated closer to the event- so please check your emails.

The main venue of the Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca is Grand Hotel Italia (see location here).

On Friday, May 31, starting at 14.00, you will be able to enjoy SITE VISITS. You can find all the chosen destinations on our website.

Dedicated buses will take participants from Grand Hotel Italia to downtown Cluj, immediately after lunch, to enjoy the site visits. All visits have been carefully prepared by our local ecosystem partners and you are warmly invited to enjoy the afternoon of 31 May discovering what Cluj has to offer. 

The soul festival of our city, providing the perfect setting to bring people together and create authentic connections. Held between May 30 and June 2, we encourage you to join Cluj Days to fully experience Cluj-Napoca, the heart of Transylvania. You can see the complete programme here.

More information about the event is available here

Site Visits

There is no better way to feel the beating heart of Transylvania than to discover it through our innovative hubs, cultural and multicultural centers, recreational spots, all under the Eurocities experience.

In this regard, we have prepared several key destinations for you to explore, in order to understand and hopefully fall in love with what our city has to offer.

The banks of the Someș River, which runs through the city of Cluj-Napoca, were the subject of an international design contest organized by Cluj-Napoca Municipality in partnership with the Romanian Order of Architects. 

Through this project, “ReThinking Someș”, the city turned its face towards the river, and the winning solution was implemented for the riverbanks, spanning over 14 km within the city. The project aims to improve the accessibility of these areas and provide opportunities for social interaction, physical activity, and community engagement. Its main objectives were to increase biodiversity, reduce air and noise pollution, mitigate the urban heat island effect, and promote sustainable urban development.

The river has now become an urban connector, and through its system of longitudinal bicycle and pedestrian paths, the Someș River has become the primary spine for movement throughout the city.

Join Cluj Days 2024 (May 30th – June 2nd) to fully experience Cluj-Napoca, the heart of Transylvania.

 

Cluj Days provides the perfect setting to bring people together and create authentic connections. Now in its 12th edition, Cluj Days engages the entire community in over 40 locations throughout the city, with more than 100 diverse activities. You’ll find art, culture, sports, concerts, workshops and camps, adventures, games, drone shows, video mapping, and many other activities.

 

Described by participants as creative, dynamic, colorful, multicultural, connected, and inclusive, the soul festival of Cluj awaits you.

You can consult the complete schedule and locations here 

Explore the dynamic world of NTT DATA Romania at their state-of-the-art headquarters in Cluj, where local talents are shaped into experts in the most innovative and challenging technologies. Here, they design and build processes and digital products that make people’s lives easier and more pleasant.

Discover cutting-edge technological innovations, meet their expert teams working on groundbreaking projects, and experience firsthand the collaborative and inspiring environment that drives their success. From interactive demonstrations to insightful presentations, your visit promises to unveil the future of IT and business solutions. During the visit, company representatives will provide an overview of NTT DATA Romania’s capabilities, their leadership in digital transformation, and how they are addressing new EU regulations.

Join NTT DATA Romania and discover how they drive digital transformation across both private and public sectors.

The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca has unveiled its new UTCN Hub building, strategically situated in the historic heart of Cluj-Napoca, an area that holds significant interest for the university’s 20,000 students.

Inaugurated in February 2024, the UTCN Hub is designed to be a vibrant center for educational and research activities, hosting conferences, exhibitions, and a variety of events. The facility serves not only the university’s structures and students but also extends its resources to the city’s administration, the social and cultural community, and the business sector, reflecting TUCN’s commitment to fostering strong collaborative relationships.

Additionally, the UTCN Hub houses the headquarters of the newly established UNITECH Foundation. This foundation is a hub of innovation and academic performance within the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca’s ecosystem. By facilitating partnerships between the educational and private sectors, the UNITECH Foundation aims to advance excellence in

research, business, entrepreneurship, and beyond, thereby contributing to the university’s mission of driving progress and innovation in various fields.

As a participant in the Eurocities Annual Conference 2024, the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca invites you to an engaging session on artificial intelligence, where cutting-edge research and developments will be showcased.

Cluj for Youth is a place for all the creative and involved young people can express themselves freely and where they succeed in creating and forming a community, leaving their mark on society through various programs and projects.

The Youth Exhibition is a journey that begins with Nova, an artificial intelligence creation who will guide you through this universe of creativity and youthful energy.

Our first destination is an immersive augmented reality experience where you will discover revolutionary ideas and projects developed by talented young people in the city. Following that, you will interact with the main youth initiatives in the city, including the Youth Center, the Youth Advisory Council, QUB, Our Cluj, FIX, ComON Cluj-Napoca, or Cluj Never Sleeps. The final stop on our journey is a special moment of speed dating, where you will have the opportunity to directly connect with young people from Cluj-Napoca.

The field trip organized by the Cluj Metropolitan Area (CMA) Association is designed as a „walk the talk” explanation of the Resilience stand, which you may visit on the sidelines of the Eurocities Conference.

The Cluj Metropolitan Area Association has extensive experience in the field of social inclusion, with interventions to desegregate marginalized communities and prevent/ combat gender-based violence that are recognized nationally as standards of good practice.

The tour of the CMA includes social inclusion facilities such as the Metropolitan Center for Gender Equality, which is the first center for counseling and combating gender-based violence licensed at the metropolitan level in Romania, a local center providing integrated recovery services for children with disabilities, the Cluj headquarters of the International Organization for Migration, and a local daycare center for the elderly.

Babeș-Bolyai University (UBB) is a leading academic institution in Romania, embodying the values of multiculturalism, innovation, and inclusivity. It has evolved into a symbol of success for Cluj and Romania, boasting prestigious international rankings and recognition.

Multiculturalism is at the core of UBB’s identity, with programs offered in Romanian, Hungarian, and German, reflecting Transylvania’s linguistic diversity. The university ensures linguistic and cultural specificity through autonomous decision-making within each language department.

With a strategic focus on fostering innovation and technological transfer, UBB has implemented initiatives to bridge the gap between academia and industry. Collaborative research projects, industry partnerships, and entrepreneurial programs are key pillars of UBB’s approach to innovation. These efforts aim to translate cutting-edge research into practical applications, driving economic growth and societal impact.

Qub Education is a center dedicated to curious and passionate young people interested in science and art (STEAM education), a place of experiential learning for schools and the general public, a context for collaboration and networking, as well as a library of educational resources.

A visit to Qub showcases experiments, installations, and creative projects by students who design intelligent spaces.

Expo Area

With great excitement, we would like to give you a glimpse on what we have prepared for you in the conference – to allow you to discover as much as possible from our Cluj Story: the vibrant Expo Area.

Find us at the Expo area to connect, learn, and be inspired by the dynamic initiatives shaping the future of our cities and communities. Together, let’s forge a path towards a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future.

We invite you to explore the Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca Expo Area at the upcoming Eurocities Annual General Meeting in Cluj-Napoca, where innovation, resilience, and green initiatives converge to showcase the best of Cluj and Transylvania’s ecosystem.

Green Innovation Area – curated by Cluj Team in Mission Cities

Experience firsthand the cutting-edge green technologies and sustainable practices driving environmental stewardship in our region. From renewable energy solutions to eco-friendly urban planning initiatives, discover how Cluj and Transylvania are pioneering the way towards a greener future.

As one of the selected cities of the EU Mission 100 by 2030, Cluj-Napoca is consolidating its green dimension. In the Expo area, you can find out more about the strategy of the city towards achieving the objectives on green transition and climate neutrality.

Our journey is ongoing, but every green project is a step closer to making our city breathe easier, live better and develop in a sustainable way.

Come and enjoy green Cluj!

 

AROBS – Newcar4future – a Romanian start-up, presents the E-Car Concept—a different prototype for an electric car.

The Concept is equipped with a dual-wheel drive engine with rear-wheel drive, a 56KW battery, a torque of 1,500 Nm per wheel, and reaches 100 km / h in 5.3 seconds. The car has an estimated range of 350 km and reaches a top speed of 210 km / h.

Newcar4future is a Romanian start-up focused on research, development, and innovation for electric vehicles. The development project lasted for four years and was carried out by a multidisciplinary team joined by researchers from AROBS Transilvania Software and the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. Currently, the start-up has delivered a minimum viable product, and after the completion of the finishing and homologation stages, a limited series of 5-10 cars will be manufactured.

More about the project at https://innovatedincluj.eu/

AROBS Transilvania Software provides software services and solutions in various industries, having approximately 70 partners of the Software Services business line located in Europe and America and more than 11.000 clients of the Software Products business lines from Europe and Asia. AROBS is present in 11 locations in Romania and nine abroad, and over 1.200 AROBS specialists and collaborators build solutions for the future in embedded – Automotive, Aerospace, Maritime, and Medical – as well as Travel Technology, IoT, Clinical Trials, Fintech, Enterprise Solutions, Cybersecurity, and Intelligent Automation.

More about the AROBS group: www.arobs.com and www.arobsgrup.ro.  

 

Eurocities  – a hub of European Cities voices 

Eurocities is the largest network of European cities. We count over 200 large cities among our membership, representing more than 150 million people across 38 countries, from within and outside the European Union.

Our mission is to build places where people can enjoy a good quality of life in a healthy, green environment. Where low-carbon and smart solutions make for cleaner air and better public services. And where people can move around sustainably, feel connected to their community and all newcomers are welcomed.

Eurocities is where local governments meet, exchange ideas and work together to bring positive change. Day in, day out, our member cities address global issues at the local level, from climate change to integration to the digital transition, among many others.

At our stand, you will be able to meet the Eurocities staff and learn more about our work and how you and your city can engage with us at European level.

NTT DATA Romania – the Digital Partner of Eurocities 2024

NTT DATA, Inc. is a trusted global innovator of business and technology services. We’re committed to helping clients innovate, optimize and transform for long-term success. Our R&D investments help organizations and society move confidently and sustainably into the digital future. As a Global Top Employer, we have diverse experts in more than 50 countries and a robust partner ecosystem of established and start-up companies. Our services include business and technology consulting, data and artificial intelligence, industry solutions, as well as the development, implementation and management of applications

NTT DATA Romania, a part of the global NTT DATA family, stands at the forefront of digital transformation and innovation. As a trusted partner, we are dedicated to delivering cutting-edge solutions and services that drive efficiency, sustainability, and profitability for our clients. Our portfolio includes a wide range of IT services, from consulting and systems development to outsourcing and cloud-based solutions, tailored to meet the dynamic needs of industries across the spectrum. At NTT DATA Romania, we harness the latest technologies to empower businesses, helping them to thrive in a digital era. Our commitment to innovation is reflected in our continuous investment in research and development, positioning us as the go-to partner for companies looking to innovate and excel in their respective markets.

 

Meet the DIH 4 Society Wizards that hold the key to digital transformation for Cities

DIH4Society was created to help build a smarter, safer, and more sustainable future through digital transformation. This initiative brings together 50 key players, including research and tech solution providers, education and business development services, cluster initiatives, chambers of commerce and industry, Enterprise Europe Network members, and SME associations, all working with regional development agencies.

Chosen by the European Commission as a leading project for supporting Europe’s digital and green transformation, eDIH4Society focuses on two main tech areas: cybersecurity and smart robotics. It also helps develop advanced digital skills for digitalization and green transformation.

As a one-stop shop, the hub offers over 40 digital transformation services to local public administrations and health institutions, covering four main areas:

  • Tech consultancy & testing solutions in labs before implementation
  • Development of advanced digital skills and competences for employees
  • Assistance in attracting public and/or private funding for sustainable development
  • Networking and entrepreneurship support for business development and internationalization

Led by four partners – Cluj IT Cluster, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, University of Oradea, and Bistrita-Nasaud Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the initiative is coordinated by Cluj IT Cluster, a nationally recognized organization founded in 2012 in Cluj-Napoca.

Cluj IT is the largest innovation ecosystem in Romania within the IT industry value chain. Our community has more than 100 members, including over 70 software service and solution providers, 17 universities and research institutes, public bodies, and various catalyst organizations. We’ve put Cluj on the European map of innovative digital hubs, promoting cross-sector partnerships to redefine value chains and create a sustainable, resilient ecosystem. We strongly believe that collaboration between the IT industry, academia, research institutions, and other stakeholders is crucial for a competitive and sustainable economic development.

Your digital journey starts with us!


SMART Transilvania Family of cross sectoral Innovation

Smart Transylvania Association is a dynamic and influential organization dedicated to championing the interests of clusters and members within the vibrant region of Northern Transylvania. With a strategic focus on fostering innovation, collaboration, and sustainable growth, the association serves as a vital nexus for businesses, academia, and government bodies.

At the heart of its mission lies a commitment to promoting economic development and competitiveness through the collective strength of its members. By facilitating networking opportunities, knowledge exchange, and access to resources, the association empowers clusters and individual enterprises to thrive in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

Drawing upon a rich tapestry of expertise across various sectors including technology (IoT), manufacturing, agriculture, and energy, the Smart Transylvania Association harnesses synergies to drive forward-thinking initiatives and projects. Through advocacy efforts and strategic partnerships, it actively shapes policies and initiatives that advance the region’s interests and enhance its competitiveness on both national and international stages.

In addition to its advocacy and collaborative endeavors, the association serves as a catalyst for innovation, providing support for research and development initiatives, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship. By fostering a culture of innovation and excellence, it catalyzes the emergence of cutting-edge solutions and facilitates the growth of high-potential startups and SMEs.

With its unwavering commitment to excellence, collaboration, and sustainable development, the Smart Transylvania Association stands as a beacon of progress and prosperity for the region, driving positive change and empowering its members to realize their full potential in the global economy.

Smart Transylvania Association includes: Transilvania IT Cluster, Transylvania Energy Cluster, Transylvanian Furniture Cluster, Agro-Transylvania Cluster and Creative Industries Cluster.

 

  1. Rural Urban Hub Cluj:  The Planet Pathways: Bridging Rural and Urban Worlds with Prysmian Solutions

 

Connecting communities through technology for an inclusive future, the European Startup Village Forum promotes startup-driven innovation in rural areas. As part of the EU’s long-term vision for rural areas, this initiative supports research and innovation for rural communities. Since 2021, in Cluj, we have engaged in a grassroots co-design process to develop a sustainable action plan in the Cluj-Napoca area, fostering growth and improving quality of life.

The C-EDU Education Cluster oversees this initiative, connecting urban and rural municipalities to the regional innovation ecosystem. The goal is to test potential developments collaboratively, bridging the rural-urban divide. The Rural Urban Hub Cluj exemplifies how community-driven processes can foster local solutions and societal innovation, particularly in divided and under-resourced areas. This initiative leverages human capital, local grants, and European funding to enhance transport, digital infrastructure, the local economy, and quality of life, contributing to the European collection of practices for place-based transformations.

During the Eurocities 2024, Prysmian group, as strategic helix partners of the Rural Urban HUb Cluj will host a digital portal to help you immerse into our locally initiated process, that aims to tackle rural urban divide.

  • Cities with Glasses for the Blind – by .lumen

 

.lumen builds Pedestrian Autonomous Driving AI (PAD AI), first showcased in the Glasses for the Blind.

 

There are over 330 million visually impaired citizens today, and despite all the technological advancements, the most used mobility solutions are still the walking cane and the guide dog.

 

 .lumen offers a solution that mimics the benefits of a guide dog without the drawbacks that make it a non-scalable solution. 

 

With a growing number of visually impaired citizens and increased annual costs for infrastructure accessibility, the Glasses for the Blind are making cities truly accessible at scale without the need for infrastructure change.

  • SEKURRA – Security, Privacy, and Integrity Governance Platform

The SEKURRA platform provides data protection at the data layer by leveraging Attribute-Based Encryption (ABE). ABE’s unique characteristic is built-in attribute-based access control enabling data-centric consistent protection according to the Zero-trust security model.

With SEKURRA, we can achieve:

  •       Highly secure lifetime data/file protection, irrespective of storage location.
  •       Vendor software independence, facilitating multi-cloud/multi-vendor strategies.
  •       Minimization of large-scale data breach risks through strict access control policies.

Fine-grained policy-based data access & sharing, with offline sharing capabilities enabled by incorporated attributes & policies from the user experience (UX).

  • Cluj.ID – your digital key for the Cluj-Napoca City Hall’s online services

Experience the future of identity validation with ClujID – the next generation of secured biometric authentication and identity validation platform and protocol.

Built to improve existing authentication web services, where centralized and  more secured, robust and reliable users’ identity validation is required alongside with the privacy protection (GDPR).

Enhanced with Identity Wallet that stores digital identities of a user in a safe, reliable and end-to-end manner, ClujID provides secured access to various services.

The ClujID platform aims to support Cluj-Napoca’s Smart City goals by advancing digital transformation, in line with the city’s strategy. This involves prioritizing interconnectivity, data-driven decisions, innovation, collaboration, citizen data protection, cybersecurity, and improved public services.


Accelerate Innovation in Urban Mobility: Discover Innovation and Funding Opportunities within the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Urban Mobility

EIT Urban Mobility RIS Hub Romania is the representation hub of EIT Urban Mobility in Romania, starting 2021. Coordinated by Iceberg+, together with Spherik Accelerator and FZMAUR, it brings programmes and funding for cities, research and academia, students, start-ups and industry representatives. With a portfolio of 360+ start-ups, we can provide solutions to cities’ challenges through pilot projects and financing, as well as access to a network of 950+ organisations in the largest European innovation community for urban mobility – EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a European Union body.

 

Iceberg+ is an innovation and technology transfer consulting company with expertise in European and national projects, founded the FIT European Digital Innovation Hub and manages the EIT Urban Mobility and EIT Manufacturing RIS Romanian Hubs. 

Spherik is as the first Romanian accelerator and coordinates one of the most representative community of entrepreneurs, companies, investors and universities supporting the regional ecosystem of innovative startups.

FZMAUR is an NGO supporting the polycentric development of metropolitan areas and agglomerations through territorial, social and economic cohesion. 


Municipality of Cluj-Napoca – the local glue that keeps Europe present and alive in people’s hearts

 

Cluj-Napoca Municipality serves as a pivotal connector and ecosystem “glue” linking local actors with European decision-makers and strategic policies for urban and social development. Its dynamic approach to fostering innovation, Cluj-Napoca supports experimental initiatives, positioning the city as a living lab for cutting-edge projects. By bridging local talent and resources with broader European frameworks, Cluj-Napoca enhances collaboration and accelerates progress across various sectors. This integration fosters a thriving environment for innovation, ensuring the city remains at the forefront of technological and social advancements, and exemplifies how urban areas can effectively drive regional and continental development. 

 

Come to Cluj and discover more!


Teen Town a la Cluj –  TeenTown – an immersive youth exhibition

 

Entering our vibrant world, you will be greeted by the avatar Nova, an artificial intelligence creation who will guide you through this universe of creativity and youthful energy.

The first destination on our journey is an immersive Augmented Reality experience where you will be able to discover revolutionary ideas and projects developed by talented young people in the city. From art and technology to social and environmental initiatives, every aspect of the exhibition will take you on a fascinating journey through their imagination.

Next, we invite you to interact with the main youth initiatives in the city, including the Youth Center, the Youth Advisory Council, Learning QUB, OurCluj initiative, FIXCluj incubator for young social innovators, participatory youth program Com’ON Cluj-Napoca or Cluj Never Sleeps festival. Discover how these organizations contribute to the community and how you can be a part of the change they bring to our world.

The last stop on our journey is a special moment of speed dating, where you will have the opportunity to get in direct contact with young people from Cluj-Napoca. Here, human interaction will reveal its magic and connections will form in an authentic and dynamic way.

Organizers: Youth Department of Cluj-Napoca City Hall, Cluj Youth Federation, Faculty of Theater and Film.


  • OurCluj – Story of cities committed to experiment, test and learn on shared governance with young people 

 

A pioneering living laboratory for youth wellbeing in Cluj-Napoca. We imagine a future where locally-owned collaborative governance empowers young residents and inspires cities in Europe and across the world to prioritize wellbeing in 21st-century urban development.

 

A novel approach to urban innovation in Romania and Europe. We ask, how would we innovate together with young people, municipality and other city actors, if wellbeing was prioritized over economic growth?

 

A family of over 20 social and civic innovation projects. Created with the city stakeholders: the Cluj-Napoca municipality, nonprofits, youth organizations, universities and businesses. Focused on care and values – rather than just profit, participatory projects include a range of research, mapping, and social innovation projects in the Cluj Metro Area. We are reimagining education, improving mental health and healthier lifestyle, building an inclusive social innovation ecosystem and supporting young social innovators for the wellbeing of Cluj residents.

 

A 10-year initiative because systemic change needs time and persistence.

Funded by Fondation Botnar and stewarded by SDG Colab, OurCluj living lab is a beacon of hope, creating local ownership where power is distributed and shared. OurCluj is part of OurCity global initiative in several countries worldwide.

Learn more and join us: https://ourcluj.city/ 

 

Partners include: Cluj County Students Council (CJE), Youth Data Collective, Cluj Youth Federation, PONT Group, Wello Association, ArtiViStory Collective, Cluj Education Cluster, Cluj Cultural Centre, UBB School of Public Health, Ava Research, Casa Tranzit, Engagement Lab at Emerson College, Studio Punkt, INIM Institute, Rural Senses,  Municipality of Cluj-Napoca, DASM and others, stewarded by SDG Colab and funded by Fondation Botnar.


MDPI – from West to East – for the service of Open Science and Future of Knowledge Sharing

MDPI, a global leader in academic publishing, has established a significant presence in Cluj-Napoca. This branch of MDPI serves as a dynamic center for scholarly activities, encompassing a wide range of disciplines and research interests. With a focus on open access publishing, MDPI in Cluj facilitates the dissemination of cutting-edge research findings to a global audience. Its activities include hosting international conferences, organizing workshops, and supporting collaborative research projects. By providing a platform for researchers and scholars to share their work and engage in academic discourse, MDPI contributes to the intellectual vitality of Cluj-Napoca and promotes the city as a hub for innovation and knowledge exchange.


Transforming High School Education in Your City: Spark Generation’s Comprehensive Teaching & Learning Solutions

Spark Generation is the Greatest Educational Platform for High Schoolers. With a library of over 65+ Academic, Wellbeing, and Future Readiness Courses, Spark Generation revolutionizes the way online high school education is done. 

 

Their innovative Online Learning Platform connects students, teachers, parents, and school administrators in one place to make the educational experience engaging for everyone. 

 

For State & Private Schools, Spark Generation is the ideal partner that keeps them forever growing, bringing along an up-to-date curriculum with future-ready courses, wellbeing & future readiness resources, and tools to help with data-driven school management. 

Discover how Spark Generation can transform education in your city’s schools. Visit our booth at Eurocities or learn more at https://spark.school/!


Municipality of Braga  – The story goes on – meet the Future home of Eurocities 2025 Braga General Assembly Meeting

 

Step into the future of urban innovation at Braga’s stand, the next host of the EuroCities Conference and sister city of Cluj. Discover our key initiatives and projects that showcase Braga’s commitment to sustainability, inclusivity, and digital transformation. From pioneering smart city solutions to fostering cultural exchange and collaboration, Braga offers a vibrant platform for city leaders, policymakers, and innovators to connect and share best practices. 

 

Engage with our team to learn how Braga is shaping the urban landscape and driving positive change, and discover the significance of our role as the next host city of the EuroCities Conference. 

 

Join us at our stand to experience the spirit of innovation and partnership that defines Braga’s vision for the future.


  • Learning  Alley – Universities 

 

Have a glimpse into the future of adapted learning at our Learning Alley exhibit, where Cluj universities and companies come together to showcase innovative demonstrations. Explore cutting-edge initiatives and projects that redefine the educational landscape. Engage with interactive displays highlighting the latest advancements in education technology and collaborative learning environments. Join us on this journey of discovery and innovation at the Learning Alley.

You will meet the most passionate teachers and trainers and we encourage you to explore future collaborations that will keep us connected after Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca will become a part of our Eurocities family history. 


European Agora – a digital exhibit of the strong connection of cities with the core European Institutions

 

Explore the European Agora, a digital exhibit showcasing the strong connection between cities and core European institutions. Discover how these collaborations drive innovation, inclusivity, and progress across Europe, highlighting the interconnectedness of cities and European institutions in shaping the continent’s future. 

 

Uniting Hearts, Transforming cities, Europe starts locally and cities are Europe!


  • European Council 
  • European Committee of the Regions 
  • European Investment Bank – EIB is committed to supporting Europe’s cities to become more competitive, smarter, greener, more connected and more inclusive. Every year, about a third of EIB financing in Europe goes to cities, which amounts to over 90 billion EUR over the last 5 years.. EIB lending and advisory services support cities in their green transition, benefit the more vulnerable citizens and promote social inclusion. EIB finances in cities: social and affordable housing; healthcare facilities; public transport investments that improve mobility and accessibility; educational institutions; community centres; recreational spaces that improve access to essential services and foster social inclusion; urban regeneration; and urgent challenges such as integrating war refugees from Ukraine. Recently, the EIB is increasing services to advise cities to invest in climate mitigation, climate adaptation and circular economy transition. Find out more about how EIB is working with cities here: Working with Europe’s cities and regions 2024 (eib.org) And specific advisory support for cities in climate adaptation: Climate Adaptation Investment Advisory Platform (ADAPT) (eib.org) and EIB support to Circular City Centre: advisory.eib.org/about/circular-city-centre.htm Person of contact: Bianca Faragau, Policy Officer on urban development, at b.faragau@eib.org 


  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 
  • International Organism for Migration
  • UNICEF 
  • URBACT
  • Interreg
  • EIT – Deep Tech Talent Initiative

 

The Deep Tech Talent Initiative is the European Commission’s pioneering programme that will skill 1 million people within European deep tech fields by the end of 2025. The Initiative, deployed by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), is rolling out pan-European education programmes to develop and retain a strong deep tech talent pool across all Member States, directly addressing the gap that exists for skilled labour. 

At the moment, we have more than 170 partners on board and 111 courses available on our Platform. The Initiative is growing and we’ve also launched the Deep Tech Radar, the Deep Tech Talent Community, and we’ve opened the 2024 Call for Proposals to fund the development of new deep tech training programmes. Furthermore, every month we organize drop-in sessions where we give our partners the possibility to network and pitch in front of the others! 


Politico

 

As the proud media partner of the EuroCities Conference, Politico invites you to engage with us at our stand. Experience the unique perspective and in-depth analysis that Politico brings to European affairs. Explore our exclusive coverage, interviews, and insights into the pressing issues facing cities across Europe. Discover how our partnership with EuroCities enhances our commitment to providing accurate, timely, and comprehensive reporting on political developments at the local, national, and European levels. Join us at our stand to stay informed, connected, and empowered in the ever-evolving landscape of European governance.


London School of Economics 

Step into the transformative world of urban studies and policy at the London School of Economics (LSE) Cities program stand. Explore our innovative research, dynamic projects, and collaborative initiatives aimed at addressing the complex challenges facing cities worldwide. Engage with our team to discover how LSE Cities leverages interdisciplinary expertise to shape urban agendas, foster sustainable development, and promote inclusive growth. From analyzing urban governance to exploring the social and economic dynamics of cities, our program offers valuable insights and practical solutions for urban practitioners, policymakers, and academics alike. Visit our stand to learn more about our impactful work and how we’re shaping the future of cities for the better.

Resilience as Future Proofing tool – Curated by Cluj Metropolitan Area Association

We believe that resilience is more than knowledge, it is wisdom extracted from experience. It is the wisdom to create communities that are both solid in the face of crises and flexible in how they recover after critical moments. Therefore, we put social cohesion first, because without it we cannot imagine a society capable of addressing the almost permanent challenges of contemporary realities. The Resilience Stand in Expo Area will showcase some of the good practices and ideas that we learned  from and were developed in Cluj, to build socially and economically resilient communities. At the core of all, there are two of our most cherished values: solidarity and togetherness.

Bring on the future!  

 

Resilience by wellbeing – taking care of the self to face this VUCA World – experience à la Cluj curated by FUJIiROKI

In today’s VUCA world—marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity—personal resilience is essential. As you all know by now, in Cluj we work hard, party hard and we really understand and value the importance of personal wellbeing. 

Fujiiroki is a leading massage chair producer that champions wellbeing as a cornerstone of resilience. By integrating traditional massage techniques with advanced technology, Fujiiroki’s chairs provide stress relief, pain management, improved sleep, and enhanced relaxation. These benefits support individuals in managing daily stress and maintaining a balanced life. Through innovative self-care solutions, Fujiiroki helps people build the resilience needed to navigate the challenges of modern life, fostering a healthier, more adaptable society.

Born from a proud tradition in Japan, Fujiiryoki, the pioneer in the industry of massage chairs for the past 70 years is honored to offer you a dedicated Wellness area equipped with revolutionary Mindfulness and Body Reconditioning massage experience.

During the entire Eurocities conference we are inviting you to explore and experience the way our ecosystem actors take care of themselves and also take wellbeing very seriously.

Speakers

Emil Boc

Mayor of Cluj-Napoca & host of Eurocities Annual Conference

Emil Boc is the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, the most important city of Romania, outside the capital, in terms of size and economic development. Major in Law and also in History and Philosophy, Emil Boc has a PH.D. in Political Science and Political Philosophy.

Mr. Boc was also the president of the Democratic Liberal Party, which proposed and supported him as Prime Minister in late 2008, from December 2004 until June 2012. 

He served as Prime Minister of Romania from December 2008 to February 2012, during one the most difficult economic times in post comunist Romania, managing to avoid the global crisis risks for the country.

Emil Boc was elected in June 2020 for a fifth time Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, the second-largest city in Romania, representing the National Liberal Party and is now actively involved in the everyday life of the city. He served his first mandate as a Mayor in 2004-2009, when he was also the President of the Democratic Liberal Party (who later fusioned with the Național Liberal Party – n.a.), a center-right party promoting the democratization and modernization of Romania and also the consolidation of its position as member of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Before entering public office, Mr. Boc was a practicing lawyer and a lecturer in political science and political philosophy at the Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He is a member of the American Political Science Association since 1994 and a member of the Romanian Society of Political Science since 1999. At present, he is an associate professor at Faculty of Political, Administration and Communication Science, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca where he teaches Political Institutions. Romanian Political System and also Constitutional System and political institutions in Romania.

Emil Boc was awarded Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law from the Michigan State University in East Lansing, U.S.

In 2017 he was awarded by the European Comission and OISPG with the prize for  ”Creating a strong innovation landscape”, during the Luminary Award Gala of the Open Innovation Conference 2017. 

Emil Boc joined the European Committee of the Regions as a member in the Romanian Delegation of local and regional elected representatives in the CoR, was a Rapporteur for the SEDEC Commision and also a member in the COTER Commision. He was elected Chair of the COTER Commission in Septemebr 2022. 

Ovidiu Cîmpean

State Secretary, Ministry of Investments and European Projects

Ovidiu Cimpean serves as a State Secretary at the Ministry of Investments and European Projects, driving transformative initiatives to propel Romania towards a sustainable future. With a career spanning over a decade, Ovidiu has been instrumental in fostering local development and spearheading European-funded projects, primarily within the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca.

Currently, Ovidiu holds the pivotal role of Coordinator of M100 – Mirror Mission Cities Hub Romania, a national platform dedicated to supporting Romanian cities in their journey towards smart and climate-neutral urban landscapes by 2030.

In addition to his governmental role, Ovidiu is the esteemed President of the Civic Imagination and Innovation Center (CIIC), a dynamic platform fostering community engagement and participatory governance in Cluj-Napoca.

With a steadfast commitment to sustainable development and inclusive governance, Ovidiu Cimpean continues to be a driving force behind initiatives that shape the future of Romanian cities, ensuring they thrive in an era of rapid urbanization and environmental challenges.

Mathias De Clercq

Mayor of Ghent

Mathias De Clercq was born in Ghent on the 26th of December 1981. Following his studies Latin-Modern Languages at the Royal Lyceum in Ghent, De Clercq studied Law at Ghent University. After obtaining his master’s degree, he obtained a Master after Master European and International Law at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Until 2008, De Clercq was working as apprentice lawyer at the Bar of Ghent. He is an avid runner and father of Cezar and Giulia.

Political career

Already during his studies, De Clercq was active in the Liberal Flemish Student Association Ghent as committee member, political secretary and chairman. Since 2002, he is a core member of the liberal think tank Liberales. At the age of 25, De Clercq was elected as Member of the Ghent City Council, and has been a member ever since. At the municipal elections of 2006, he became Deputy Mayor of Economy, Youth, Work and the Self-Employed. He was also active at national level and took the oath in the Chamber of Representatives in 2007. In September 2009, De Clercq became Senior Deputy Mayor of the City of Ghent and Deputy Mayor of Economy, Youth and the Self-Employed. Following the municipal elections of 2012, he maintained Senior Deputy Mayor and was given the competences of the Port, Economy and Enterprise. From 2014 until the beginning of 2019 De Clercq was Member of the Flemish Parliament. In January 2019 De Clercq became mayor of the City of Ghent.

Bev Craig

Leader of Manchester City Council & Labour Councillor for Burnage Ward

Bev became Leader of Manchester City Council on 1st December 2021.

First elected in 2011 as a Burnage Councillor she held a range of responsibilities on Manchester City Council including as Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health and Deputy Leader. 

Since becoming Leader her focus has been on Manchester’s ambitious plans to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy, increasing investment into neighbourhoods across the city, better outcomes for children and young people, tackling inequalities, building more housing and working to meet Manchester’s net zero ambitions.

Bev is a Deputy Chair of the Local Government Association and Chair of Core Cities UK. In Greater Manchester she holds a range of responsibilities on behalf of the city including leading on the Economy, Business, and International Portfolio for the Combined Authority.

Originally from Belfast, she moved to Manchester in 2003 for university. After graduating from the University of Manchester she began her career in Local Government, before working in higher education and then a national trade union leading on social care. She holds postgraduate degrees from Warwick Business School and the University of Manchester. Outside of politics she enjoys sports and being outdoors, music, culture and enjoying all that Manchester has to offer.

Thomas George

Global Lead Urban at UNICEF

Thomas George is a thought leader and a senior development manager and professional in the area of child rights programming, urban and governance with a demonstrated history of working in the United Nations and National Government. He has more than 36 years of experience in International Development, out of which 31 years have been with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Thomas George is currently UNICEF’s global lead for urban and works out of their Head Quarters New York.  In this role, he provides strategic advice to the organization on programming for and leads UNICEF’s advocacy for the well being of children living in urban settings and supports UNICEF’s regional offices and country offices to further this agenda.

He is currently member of 

  • UN System wide Task Force on Urban
  • Global Task Force on the Future of Cities 
  • Expert Group to develop the Quality of Life Index.

Previously, he was a member of the expert group to develop the global urban monitoring framework.

Thomas George has a Masters Degree in Sociology and has management training from Harvard Corporate and many UNICEF management development programmes.

Burkhard Jung

Mayor of Leipzig & President of Eurocities

Mayor of the City of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, was elected as President of Eurocities in June 2023. 

Born in Siegen/Westphalia in 1958, he has been Mayor of Leipzig since 2006, having been directly re-elected by citizens in 2013, and also served as Eurocities Vice-President from 2021 – 2023. He sits on many boards and associations, including as vice-president of the Association of German Cities. 

After qualifying as a teacher of German and Protestant Theology, he established the Leipzig Protestant educational centre. He has held political positions since 1991, and was responsible for Leipzig’s bids for the Olympics and Football World Cup. 

In his work with Eurocities, he has led actions to support Ukrainian cities affected by the Russian war, as well as representing cites’ interests in relation to the EU budget, migration and gender equality.

Kyriacos Kakouris

Vice-President of the European Investment Bank

Mr Kyriacos Kakouris is Vice-President of the European Investment Bank as of October 2023. 

Mr Kakouris has a 33-year professional experience in the Ministry of Finance in Cyprus. In the period November 2022-October 2023 he was Director of Finance, Directorate of Strategy and Coordination in the Ministry, while between 2016 and 2022 he was Director of International Financial Institutions and Financial Management of Central Government Directorate in the same Ministry.  He has a long experience in project financing and working with international financial institutions. As part of his professional activities, he was also member of the Board of Directors of EIB, Administrative council of the Council of Europe Development Bank, Governor for Cyprus of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Kyriacos Kakouris studied Economics at the University of Athens and Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada.

Julia Okatz

Director across Systemiq’s Natural Resources and Urban Practice

Julia is a director across Systemiq’s Natural Resources and Urban Practice. Her work focuses on the efficient and balanced space-use in cities, the re-development of resilient and vibrant neighbourhoods, AI-enabled planning and financing solutions. This includes analytical studies, as well as implementation projects with public and private financial institutions. Julia also works as a special advisor to the International Resource Panel (IRP)’s Co-Chair Janez Potočnik and contributes to the advisory panel of the EU’s Circular Regions and Cities initiative. Before joining Systemiq, Julia worked at the Institute for Climate and Society in Rio de Janeiro. She holds an MSc in global politics from the London School of Economics and a Post-Graduate Degree in interdisciplinary design for the built environment from the University of Cambridge.

Eileen O’Sullivan

Deputy Mayor, Frankurt am Main

As currently the youngest Deputy Mayor to ever have been elected in Frankurt am Main, I have been working towards shaping our society toward a future in which all and every citizens have equal  chances in the European Union. I am passionate about strengthening democracy through citizen  participation whilst also creating a resilient future for the German public administration with the help  of digitalization and innovation 

Voluntary Social Year | Municipality Königstein i.Ts. 2014-2015  

I gained experience in supporting the educators of a public kindergarten for a year while receiving  educational and paedagogical training by a sponsor facilitating Voluntary Social Years. 

Dual Vocational Training | Deutsche Bank AG 2021 – Present 2015 – 2017 

Work experience within HR administration, onboarding of new employees, the payroll department  and personal assistance roles in departments such as Government & Regulatory Affairs, Anti  Financial Crime, Finance Change and Inhouse Consulting. 

Finance Change Analyst | Deutsche Bank AG 2017 

After the completion of my Dual Vocational Training I worked as a Finance Change Analyst on a  project aiming to prepare the bank organizationally as well as legally for the upcoming changes in the  trading area due to Brexit. 

Deputy Mayor | City of Frankfurt am Main Dual Vocational Training | Deutsche Bank AG 2021 – Present 

As a member of the governing council of Frankfurt, I am responsible for the development and  execution of the offices responsible for IT, Smart City, Statistics, International Affairs, Citizen  Participation, the Citizen Offices as well as the Election Office. I manage close to 600 employees and  represent the City as a politically elected Deputy Mayor in close collaboration with 11 further Deputy  Mayors

Ricardo Rio

Mayor of Braga

Ricardo Rio is the Mayor of Braga since 2013.  He is President of the Euro-region ‘Eixo Atlântico’ which brings together 38 of the biggest cities from the North of Portugal and Galicia, Spain. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Global Parliament of Mayors since November 2019.

Through his years as Mayor of Braga, was invited to be a member of the Champion Mayors initiative of the OECD, which brings together mayors from the five continents who are committed to sustainable and inclusive growth. He is a member of the Portuguese delegation of the Committee of the Regions. 

In his professional life, he was the Secretary General of the Portuguese Association of Financial Analysts and the Director of the Capital Markets Institute of Euronext Lisbon. At the same time, he kept working as a public and business consultant for several years, having participated in several Programmes of the Porto Business School

Andre Sobczak

Secretary General of Eurocities

André Sobczak works to empower cities in EU decision making through Eurocities. He spent 20 years as a manager and impact-oriented academic, as well as serving two terms as Vice-President of the Nantes Metropolitan Area for European Affairs, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Employment. His positions in Audencia Business School have included Positive Impact Chair and Chief Executive for Corporate Social Responsibility, experience which he is  harnessing to strengthen training activities and create strong ties with academia through a new Eurocities Academy. In local politics, he worked to coordinate the metropolitan area’s 24 mayors, as well as representing Nantes in Eurocities’ Executive Committee and as Chair of the network’s Economic Development Forum.

He has worked tirelessly to reinforce and communicate a virtuous circle between economic development and social and environmental goals. On the one hand, he has coached companies to improve their business plans and management to this end; On the other, he has spearheaded initiatives like #NegoTrainig, which gives women free training in wage negotiation, and ‘Fairwork,’ a monitor for working conditions in the platform economy. He leads with an approach of multi-level cooperation between the public sector, businesses and civil society for tangible positive impact.

Juhana Vartiainen

Mayor of Helsinki

Juhana Vartiainen was born in 1958 in Helsinki. He studied economics at the University of Helsinki and received his PhD in 1992. Vartiainen is therefore an economist and a Doctor of Political Science.

In addition to this, he has worked in research organisations in both Finland and Sweden. In 2003, he was the director of the trade union movement’s research institute FIEF. Following this, he worked in the Swedish National Institute for Economic Research. In 2012, he became the Director General of the State Economic Research Center VATT and was elected a Member of Parliament in 2015.

In 2021, he assumed office as the Mayor of Helsinki.

Hanna Zdanowska

Mayor of Łódź

Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor of the City of Łódź since 2010, environmental engineer, graduate of the Łódź University of Technology, Member of the Polish Parliament (2007 – 2010).

In the 2024 local elections, she was elected for the fourth term, receiving 60% of the vote in the first round.

She started the largest Łódź’s revitalisation program in Poland. Hanna Zdanowska, full member of the European Committee of the Regions since 2019, is engaged in work for ENVE and SEDEC Commissions. Additionally, she is a member of the Green Deal Going Local Working Group in the CoR. She was nominated National Ambassador of the Covenant of Mayors and as a committed to climate actions and citizens engagement leader, she decided to join the European family of Climate Pact Ambassadors. She is a rapporteur of the following CoR opinions “Ecological transition – What balance between social acceptability and environmental imperatives from the point of view of cities and regions” and “Amending the Directive on Asbestos”.

Victoria Zinchuk

Director for Romania, EBRD

Ms. Zinchuk has over 27 years of professional experience, of which nearly 10 years in management and leadership roles within EBRD. She has strong track record in originating, structuring and implementation of investment transactions across various sectors in EBRD region.

Victoria also has extensive and successful hands-on experience in leading policy dialogue, developing and implementing sector and country strategies as well as representing EBRD with government authorities, business counterparts and the media.

Prior to being appointed as Director for Romania on 1st September 2023, Victoria was the Regional Director for Central Europe covering Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovak Republic.

Moderators

Dan Cărbunaru

Director Calea Europeană & General Manager European Media Connections

Former Romanian Government spokesman (Dec 2021-June 2023), Dan Cărbunaru has a deep-rooted expertise in law and European affairs. His journalism career has seen him tackle various national and European issues, significantly contributing to Romanian media. Dan’s government role involved managing critical communications during pivotal events, highlighting his adeptness in public relations. As the founder of Calea Europeană, he has played a vital role in promoting EU affairs, engaging with leading European political figures and journalists. Notably, Dan has moderated significant events involving key European institutions, such as the European Commission, Parliament,
and Committee of Regions, showcasing his proficiency in facilitating high-level discussions. His dedication to European integration and communication excellence positions him as a distinguished figure, ready to engage and inspire at the European conference.

Giovanna Coi

Data Journalist for Politico Europe

Giovanna Coi is a data journalist for Politico Europe, which covers the latest news and trends from the EU and its member states.  

Giovanna is passionate about climate policy, social equity and gender issues.  

She is the co-author of POLITICO’s Living Cities Global Policy Lab, a solutions-journalism project that looks at Europeans’ relationships with the cities in which they live. 

Aitor Hernández-Morales

Senior reporter at POLITICO

Aitor Hernández-Morales is a senior reporter at POLITICO and the author of its Living Cities Global Policy Lab.

Prior to joining POLITICO, Aitor covered Portuguese politics and social issues as the Lisbon-based correspondent for Spain’s El Mundo and the Cadena SER radio network and collaborated with Spain’s El Español and France’s Courrier International. He also spent several years working in the civil infrastructure sector, and previously served on El Mundo’s International and Breaking News desks, where he covered European affairs.

Born in Pamplona, Spain, but raised in Miami, Florida, Aitor has lived in Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy. He speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese fluently and has a working knowledge of French, German and Italian.

Dorthe Nielsen

 Executive Director of Eurocities

Dorthe Nielsen is the executive director of Eurocities. She works for greater recognition of and role for cities at the EU level in the green, digital, and just transformation.  She leads strategy development and oversees the policy advocacy of the network to the EU. Before joining Eurocities in 2011, she worked for the Greater London Authority (EU office) and the European Commission’s Secretariat General. She holds two Masters’ degrees in European Politics and Public Administration, as well as a certification in strategic foresight and management.

Bilyana Raeva

City Councillor Varna

Bilyana Raeva is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in political and government roles. From serving currently as a city councillor, representing Varna in Brussels, and holding senior government positions in Bulgaria to being a Member of the European Parliament, she has navigated various levels of governance. 

With a knack for organisational leadership, she spearheaded the establishment of StartupCity Europe Partnership and played a pivotal role in winning the European Youth Capital title for Varna in 2017. Her expertise extends to managing substantial budgets, including a 181 million euros administration modernisation program, and channeling citizen participation into tangible achievements, such as setting up Talyana creative neighbourhood in her home city and ReBonkers, the leading contemporary art center in Bulgaria. 

Bilyana’s adeptness in political and institutional settings, coupled with her intimate knowledge of the Eurocities network and fluency in seven languages, makes her a versatile and effective urban ambassador.

Awards & Jury

The annual Eurocities Awards recognise cities’ outstanding achievements in improving quality of life for local people, addressing Europe’s challenges at every level. Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca provides the context for European cities to be recognized for their achievements by offering awards in three categories:

Cities are drivers and enablers of innovative processes, involving a wide range of stakeholders, including public and private sectors, academia, and, importantly, people.

The green and digital transitions open new opportunities for people and the economy. A workforce with in-demand skills contributes to sustainable growth, innovation, and competitiveness in cities.

Acquiring new skill sets through up-skilling and reskilling strategies, as well as attracting and retaining talent, is essential to keeping up with the changing needs of the job market and the complexity of the transition towards a more sustainable and digitalised economy.

Shortlisted cities:

Madrid  Centre for Innovation in Circular Economy

The centre serves as a hub for circular economy initiatives, fostering innovation, attracting talent, promoting entrepreneurship and creating new job opportunities and networks within the circular economy realm. The CIEC has become a unique model of public-private collaboration to transform Madrid’s productive and social fabric towards sustainability, digitalisation, and circularity, with inclusion as a key element.

More than 60 enterprises and over 5,000 participants have attended training and awareness-raising sessions in the centre. More information here.

Marseille – Provence Africa Connect

Provence Africa Connect is a public-private multi-stakeholder initiative designed to promote the metropolis as an innovation Hub for shared prosperity between Europe and Africa. How? Attracting and promoting African talents and supporting innovative projects at each development step.

Every year, Aix-Marseille-Provence welcomes around 10,000 African talents (students, project holders and start-ups) to its university and innovation ecosystem. This context led to the strategic choice of deepening economic linkages between the territory and Africa, within the Agenda for the economic development of Aix-Marseille-Provence. More information here.

Porto – A magnet for talent

The TERA strategy (an acronym for Talent, Evolve, Retain and Attract) aims to attract, develop and retain talent in the city. The council provides knowledge about the labour market and implements promotional actions to attract skilled workers. Porto enhances this work ecosystem through initiatives that bring together that talent with academia and companies to boost skills. Finally, to retain skilled people, the city enhances the careers of those who live, study and work in Porto. More information here.

With over 70% of all the food produced consumed in urban areas, cities and their citizens represent a force of change for moving towards more sustainable and fair food systems. Choices need to be made in terms of procurement, providing healthy food for all and reducing food waste, to reduce GHG emissions and make urban food systems more sustainable.

Citizens can play a crucial role in this transformation: they can increase demand for healthy and more plant-based food with their purchasing power, engage in food-related NGOs, set up food-related start-ups and SMEs, and influence the food system in their city and region by getting involved in local food policy development.

As citizens are fundamental for change, in this award category, we are looking for projects that emphasise empowering citizens or other actors with food-related initiatives, combining environmental with social goals, to move towards just and sustainable food systems.

 

Shortlisted cities:

Bordeaux – Establishing a Food Policy Council

In 2017, Bordeaux Metropole became the first French territory to establish a Food Policy Council, where a holistic approach is used to create food policies aligned with the needs of the territory and citizens. Local research, agriculture and food issues are all considered in the transitioning of the food system towards a more sustainable and resilient direction. Implementing a sustainable food and agriculture policy specific to the Bordeaux metropolitan area entails four specific objectives: protection of agricultural land, support to farmers, prioritisation of certain forms of agriculture and giving priority to short distribution circuits to enhance access to healthy food. More information here.

 

Dortmund – Empowering children for sustainable food

Dortmund focuses on climate-friendly and healthy eating in municipal institutions, especially in day care centres for children. Citizens are encouraged and empowered from an early age to eat and act responsibly. The aim is to steadily increase the share of organic and regional food products through public procurement. The city works on projects to teach children about healthy and sustainable food and sustainable development in general. To date, these projects have reached 8,000 children and local families. More information here.

 

Pau – La Ceinture Verte

The Green Belt is an integrated approach that aims to accelerate the transition towards short food circuits. It provides fully equipped farms to independent producers, technical assistance to small agricultural holdings, access to sales platforms dedicated to wholesale delivery, semi-large and retail. It also promotes local brands and invests in activities that leverage the local food system’s cultural and economic impact. Eight farms have been raised and all of the farmers involved have reached economic sustainability. More information here.

We must mobilize our citizens to engage in the democratic process and participate in elections at all levels.

This is a pressing concern in our democracies, particularly with the European elections in June 2024, just after our awards ceremony.

We are looking for projects that can showcase innovative, creative and successful approaches to getting citizens to the election box for local, national or European elections, in particular campaigns that have successfully encouraged young people to vote, highlighting for example:

  • Consistent engagement over time
  • Unusual outreach venues and activities
  • Effectively using social media
  • Or any other successful creative ideas.

 

Shortlisted cities:

Gdansk – Don’t sleep, or you will be outvoted

This campaign was created to inform and educate the public about the elections in 2023, while ensuring it did not affiliate with any specific political party. The most important objective of the campaign was to improve on the election turnout record from the year 1989 (62.7%). To help voters make more informed decisions and to promote electoral education, information about the electoral process was published in one place. Another goal was to motivate those citizens who may feel powerless or mistakenly believe that their vote will not change anything. The third objective was to address the campaign to those voting for the first time. More information here.

 

Rotterdam – Creative elections in Wijk aan Zet

Wijk aan Zet is a new electoral model of local governance on the district/neighbourhood level that ensures citizens have a say in decisions that affect their lives. In the 39 districts in which the city is divided, citizens could stand for election to represent their district without belonging to a political party, and at the age of 16, people were allowed to vote. All districts drew up a four-year agreement with the municipality. Residents, the municipality and organisations make plans for the district, that come together in the district agreement. More information here.

 

Zurich – Information campaigns can reduce barriers to naturalisation

The City of Zurich has been sending regular information letters to people eligible for Swiss citizenship since 2017. In these campaigns, recipients are informed about the benefits of naturalisation, such as gaining access to political participation. Zurich is investigating the obstacles preventing people from obtaining Swiss citizenship by surveying those who have received information letters. Based on the findings, the content of these information letters is regularly adjusted and updated to address and alleviate these hurdles, aiming to encourage eligible individuals to initiate the naturalisation application process. More information here.

Shortlisted cities to each awards category:

Madrid  Centre for Innovation in Circular Economy

The centre serves as a hub for circular economy initiatives, fostering innovation, attracting talent, promoting entrepreneurship and creating new job opportunities and networks within the circular economy realm. The CIEC has become a unique model of public-private collaboration to transform Madrid’s productive and social fabric towards sustainability, digitalisation, and circularity, with inclusion as a key element.

More than 60 enterprises and over 5,000 participants have attended training and awareness-raising sessions in the centre. More information here.

Marseille – Provence Africa Connect

Provence Africa Connect is a public-private multi-stakeholder initiative designed to promote the metropolis as an innovation Hub for shared prosperity between Europe and Africa. How? Attracting and promoting African talents and supporting innovative projects at each development step.

Every year, Aix-Marseille-Provence welcomes around 10,000 African talents (students, project holders and start-ups) to its university and innovation ecosystem. This context led to the strategic choice of deepening economic linkages between the territory and Africa, within the Agenda for the economic development of Aix-Marseille-Provence. More information here.

Porto – A magnet for talent

The TERA strategy (an acronym for Talent, Evolve, Retain and Attract) aims to attract, develop and retain talent in the city. The council provides knowledge about the labour market and implements promotional actions to attract skilled workers. Porto enhances this work ecosystem through initiatives that bring together that talent with academia and companies to boost skills. Finally, to retain skilled people, the city enhances the careers of those who live, study and work in Porto. More information here.

Bordeaux – Establishing a Food Policy Council

In 2017, Bordeaux Metropole became the first French territory to establish a Food Policy Council, where a holistic approach is used to create food policies aligned with the needs of the territory and citizens. Local research, agriculture and food issues are all considered in the transitioning of the food system towards a more sustainable and resilient direction. Implementing a sustainable food and agriculture policy specific to the Bordeaux metropolitan area entails four specific objectives: protection of agricultural land, support to farmers, prioritisation of certain forms of agriculture and giving priority to short distribution circuits to enhance access to healthy food. More information here.

Dortmund – Empowering children for sustainable food

Dortmund focuses on climate-friendly and healthy eating in municipal institutions, especially in day care centres for children. Citizens are encouraged and empowered from an early age to eat and act responsibly. The aim is to steadily increase the share of organic and regional food products through public procurement. The city works on projects to teach children about healthy and sustainable food and sustainable development in general. To date, these projects have reached 8,000 children and local families. More information here.

Pau – La Ceinture Verte

The Green Belt is an integrated approach that aims to accelerate the transition towards short food circuits. It provides fully equipped farms to independent producers, technical assistance to small agricultural holdings, access to sales platforms dedicated to wholesale delivery, semi-large and retail. It also promotes local brands and invests in activities that leverage the local food system’s cultural and economic impact. Eight farms have been raised and all of the farmers involved have reached economic sustainability. More information here.

Gdansk – Don’t sleep, or you will be outvoted

This campaign was created to inform and educate the public about the elections in 2023, while ensuring it did not affiliate with any specific political party. The most important objective of the campaign was to improve on the election turnout record from the year 1989 (62.7%). To help voters make more informed decisions and to promote electoral education, information about the electoral process was published in one place. Another goal was to motivate those citizens who may feel powerless or mistakenly believe that their vote will not change anything. The third objective was to address the campaign to those voting for the first time. More information here.

Rotterdam – Creative elections in Wijk aan Zet

Wijk aan Zet is a new electoral model of local governance on the district/neighbourhood level that ensures citizens have a say in decisions that affect their lives. In the 39 districts in which the city is divided, citizens could stand for election to represent their district without belonging to a political party, and at the age of 16, people were allowed to vote. All districts drew up a four-year agreement with the municipality. Residents, the municipality and organisations make plans for the district, that come together in the district agreement. More information here.

Zurich – Information campaigns can reduce barriers to naturalisation

The City of Zurich has been sending regular information letters to people eligible for Swiss citizenship since 2017. In these campaigns, recipients are informed about the benefits of naturalisation, such as gaining access to political participation. Zurich is investigating the obstacles preventing people from obtaining Swiss citizenship by surveying those who have received information letters. Based on the findings, the content of these information letters is regularly adjusted and updated to address and alleviate these hurdles, aiming to encourage eligible individuals to initiate the naturalisation application process. More information here.

Bianca Faragau

Institutional Policy Officer at the Permanent Representation of the European Investment Bank

Catarina Heeckt

Programme Lead for the European Cities Programme, London School of Economics

Giovanna Coi

Data Journalist for Politico Europe

Emilia Botezan

Head of the Foreign Affairs and Investments Cluj-Napoca

Miguel González

Communications Manager at the Federation for Innovation in Democracy - Europe (FIDE).

Sponsors & Partners

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Eurocities 2024 Cluj-Napoca

It is a great honor for the City of Cluj-Napoca to host you all in our home, one of Europe’s beating hearts.

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