Bratislava will host European mayors


This coming Monday (27 May 2024), Bratislava will play host to a number of European mayors. The event is taking place as part of the Pact of Free Cities summit, which will be hosted in 2024 by Bratislava’s mayor Matúš Vallo. The mayors and representatives of Budapest, Warsaw, Paris, Tirana and others, including the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv and Lviv, will come to our capital to discuss democracy and its protection in the European space. One of the important outcomes of the summit should also be the accession to a joint declaration condemning any politically motivated violence against individuals or groups of persons.

The Pact of Free Cities was established by the mayors of Bratislava (Matúš Vallo), Budapest (Gergely Karácsony), Prague (Zdeněk Hřib) and Warsaw (Rafał Trzaskowski) in 2019 and is today an informal alliance of the mayors of more than 30 European cities.

The aim of the Pact is to protect and support the common values of freedom, human dignity, democracy, equality, respect for rights, social justice, tolerance and cultural diversity, but also to identify the most pressing challenges of society and to speak out against populism.

The purpose of the Pact of Free Cities is primarily to exchange ideas, know-how and knowledge when addressing the main challenges in the development of cities. Each city has specific expertise in areas of problem solving and policy development, and together they represent a unique fund of knowledge, experts and proven practices.

Along with the discussion of the current situation in the participating cities and the exchange of information about development projects of cities in the field of the protection and development of democracy, the content of the working part of the summit will also be the adoption of the so-called Bratislava Declaration.

The Declaration is a summary of the basic mission of the Pact of Free Cities and the role that cities play in protecting democracy and an open society. It captures current threats to the development of democracy, which are to be seen mainly in populism, misinformation and distrust of institutions. The Declaration resolutely condemns any politically motivated violence against individuals or groups of persons. It also focuses on global challenges in the area of the environment, digital reality and quality of life and safety while stressing the role of cities in solving them.

Undoubtedly, one of the main expected topics of the mayors’ discussions during the summit will be the situation in Ukraine and assistance to our eastern neighbours, since the future of democracy, whether in Europe or globally, depends largely on the development of the situation in Ukraine and the ability of the democratic world to help restore Ukraine as a free, modern and democratic country.

The Pact has been working closely with Ukrainian cities since before the Russian invasion, particularly with Kyiv and other larger cities. At the beginning of 2022, based on the invitation of the Pact’s four founding members, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko became a member of the Pact, and at the Bratislava summit the mayor of Kharkiv in Ukraine should also become a new member.

An element of the summit will also be two public discussions at the Slovak National Gallery, in which the mayors of several member cities of the Pact will present themselves. The first will devoted to the role of mayors and cities in the defence of democracy in Europe. The second will examine how cities can educate their residents to having more democratic and open attitudes towards the world and their surroundings. You can also find more information about the upcoming event at social city media ↗︎.