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CEMR General Assembly: local and regional elected representatives define innovation

Innovation is at the heart of the 25th General Assembly of European Municipalities and Regions and was the focus of its first plenary session, held on 26 September 2012, and moderated by Euronews journalist Alex Taylor.

Each speaker defined innovation based on their experience at the local and regional level:
Innovation is about exchange.  We’re all trying to save ourselves in this time of crisis but perhaps mayors should dedicate more time to finding solutions together.” – Teófila Martínez Sáiz, Mayor of Cadiz.

Innovation is about consultation with citizens as well as with the different levels of governance.  Only thus can we achieve ownership of policies and actions undertaken.  The active involvement of young people is also essential.” – Wolfgang Schuster, mayor of Stuttgart and president of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).

Youth policies are vital, especially when considering that youth unemployment has reached 50% in Spain.  In my city, Santander, we have set up a programme with the state administration to train and advise youth on the current labour market.” – Íñigo de la Serna Hernáiz, Mayor of Santander and President of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.

We need the national budget to support the smaller municipalities as well as larger ones as they often have the most problems when it comes to attracting additional funds.  We need to work at rendering decentralisation more modern and more efficient.” – José Loaiza García, President of the Province of Cádiz.