On 24 October, the city of Schiedam hosted the General Assembly of Eurotowns. We interviewed the President of the network, Paolo Gandolfi “Small and medium sized cities can represent their interests by using this network for lobbying in the EU as well as at the national level”
What is your impression of Schiedam?
I have a good impression of Schiedam. First of all, everything is well organized. We Italians can learn a lot from this. It is a great example for us. We have a lot to learn, not only form Schiedam but also from the Netherlands!
Eurotowns is a network for small and medium sized cities in Europe. Why should cities participate in this network?
Often only the needs of the big cities are in the picture. Small and medium sized cities can represent their interests by using this network for lobbying in the EU as well as at the national level.
You are the president of Eurotowns, do you like it?
I am president for one year now. It will last for three years. That is a great responsibility. The network sometimes meet 4 times a year to decide on the programme and on specific topics.
What is the most important conclusion for you from this symposium in Schiedam?
It is important for the economic development to focus on a strong core business. Schiedam lost in the past the industry of genever, but decided to focus on the maritime industry and maritime activities. This change attracted other business which is good for the economy and the employability.
Did you have a similar experience in your city?
We used to have a huge industry on military aircrafts in our city. But after World War II the company closed down and thousands of people became unemployed. They started their own businesses, which resulted in a strong network that attracted mechanical industry.