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Round table: Green Cities - Challenges and Experiences

Round table: Green Cities - Challenges and Experiences

If the planet is to survive, all cities must adopt the principles promoted by the Green Capital of Europe initiative, said Zoran Janković, the mayor of Ljubljana, the Green Capital of Europe 2016. "This is our solidarity with future generations," he told a round table debate in Ljubljana on Wednesday.

Ljubljana Deputy Mayor Tjaša Ficko said that having a vision of a green city was not enough. "It also takes courage to realise it," she said at the debate on the challenges and experience of green cities organised ahead of tonight's declaration of the winner of the 2018 Green Capital of Europe Award.

"When we want to be greener still, we must balance our measures to keep the city pleasant for living," she said, noting that in Ljubljana, only the city centre had been closed for traffic not the entire city as this would kill it.

Deputy mayor of Essen, which will hold the title of the Green Capital of Europe next year, was upbeat about the stint. Rudolf Jelinek said the people of Essen were sending hundreds of proposals for making the city greener. "I believe we will have a wonderful green city at the end of next year," he said.

Hamburg's state secretary for environment and energy Michael Pollmann pointed to the challenges of green cities. In Hamburg, which held the title in 2011, the number of residents is quickly rising, including due to the many refugees that arrived last year. "We need new accommodation quickly, which creates pressure on the green surfaces," he pointed out.

The Green Capital of Europe title is good for the city not only because it promotes green and sustainable development. "Ljubljana has built itself a brand, found its place on the European map," Ficko noted.

"Cities are exchanging our experience, helping each other, but we are also competing - for residents, tourists, events, investments. From that point of view, Ljubljana has achieved changes that will be felt in the future as well," the deputy mayor concluded. Europe's Green Capital for 2018 will be announced at Grand Hotel Union in the evening, with the Netherlands' Hertogenbosch and Nijmegen and Sweden's Umea competing for the title.

Cities are exchanging our experience, helping each other, but we are also competing - for residents, tourists, events, investments. From that point of view, Ljubljana has achieved changes that will be felt in the future as well."

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