THE PROJECT2018-08-25T11:58:58+00:00


European Commission – Education, Audiovisual and Communication Executive Agency (EACEA)


Europe for Citizens
Strand 2: Democratic engagement and civic participation
Network of twinned towns Measure 2.2


Mihaela Onofras – Project Manager EU Area
Mobile: +32 (0)483 684 773
Address: ALDA, Rue Belliard 20, int. 6, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium


24 months (03.10.2016 – 30.09.2018)

Short description 

The project will be based on building a thematic network of European Metropolitan Cities that will exchange experiences about their management and role in the future of European governance, by focusing on the participation of citizens in these processes. The network will gather Metropolitan Cities with years of experiences with the Metropolis institutions and realities.
The tools of the project will include:

  • Five international events addressing both citizens and policy-makers
  • Participative local activities for citizens to discuss the covered topics
  • A questionnaire for target groups (before and after the events)
  • A website, necessary to facilitate networking among stakeholders
  • A movie and a publication about results achieved


The main objectives of this project are:

  • to establish a network of Metropolitan Cities from different European regions that will focus on the inclusion of citizens in the decision-making project
  • to foster the active participation of citizens in the democratic life of their Metropolitan cities
  • to support the development of good governance at the Metropolitan level
  • to promote a strong sense of European identity in Metropolitan cities
  • to foster inclusion and integration among their inhabitants
  • to improve citizens’ knowledge of European and local institutions
  • to promote citizens’ sense of ownership towards such institutions


MEANING foresees 11 steps, having impact both at the local and at the European level:

1- Preparation activities

Locally and online, all partners

Content: During the first two months of MEANING, the partners will discuss the action plan of and the technical as well as practical aspects of project implementation, including the organization and timing of local activities. An online meeting between all the project partners will take place in Month 1 to consider all these aspects.

Expected results: 

  • Practical decisions concerning the organization, management and coordination of the activities are taken
  • The partners elaborate a communication plan in order to ensure a good exposure to the project

2- Questionnaire formulation

Formulation of a survey, all partners

Content: Design of a questionnaire to assess the knowledge participants have of European institutions and their sense of belonging towards them. The survey will take into consideration the variety of actors involved and will be adapted to the type of events (international seminars, local activities) as well as to the topics covered by the initiatives. They will be formulated in two versions, one distributed before and one after the targeted event.

Expected results: 

  • The questionnaires are completed by the participants throughout the entire project duration, before and after the international and local events
  • They help assessing the initial knowledge of participants and the following impact of the project activities
  • It supports project partners in collecting observations, opinions and ideas for civic participation
  • It measures the commitment of the various participants and their interests

3 – “Models of Governance of the Metropolitan cities and the European Urban Agenda”

International event, Milan, Italy 

Content: The first event will address the topic of Models of Governance of the Metropolitan cities and the European Urban Agenda and gather 70 participants, invited by the Metropolitan city of Milan (35) and sent by the other partners (35). Participants will discuss the various models of governance of metropoles and their role in the European context.  The discussion will address the local difficulties and promote dialogue on various metropolitan experiences starting from an analysis of Milan’s reality.

Expected results: 

  • Participants increase their knowledge of governance and policy-making at the local level
  • The crucial role of Metropolitan cities in the implementation of European policies and the direct impact of their activities on citizens is clarified
  • Awareness is raised on the role that citizens have to play and, on the way, they can be included in decision-making processes at the local level

4 – “Citizens participation and living together in European Metropolitan areas today”

International event, Gdańsk, Poland

Content: The event will focus on “Citizens participation and living together in European Metropolitan areas today” and will gather 70 participants including 35 internationals. It will be centred on understanding the notion of citizenship, its different implications and its evolution in territories where the population is diversifying. It will address the different ways to exercise citizenship from the metropolitan level to the European one, and build on the experiences of the metropolitan area of Lyon.

Expected results: 

  • A more comprehensive knowledge of the notion of citizenship and its implications in Europe today is developed among participants
  • Contributions are made to turn inhabitants from users of a territory and its services to active and collaborative stakeholders
  • A constructive dialogue among the participants is fostered, to find solutions on citizens’ active participation in metropolitan cities and on constructive cohabitation in European metropolitan areas

5 – “The key role of Metropolitan Areas as International brands”

International event, Porto, Portugal 

Content:  It will focus on “The key role of Metropolitan Areas as International brands” with 70 participants including 35 internationals. It will address the different ways metropolitan area stakeholders (citizens, local governments, social and economic actors, NGOs etc.) may work together to build a strong vision and image (brand) associated with the territory, to attract people to work, live, study, visit and invest there. Sharing international experiences will be essential to the success of the seminar.

Expected results: 

  • Participants gain a deeper understanding of the role of the various actors of the Metropolitan city
  • They also understand the importance of their constructive cooperation for the dynamism and image of Metropolitan cities
  • Collaborative initiatives are presented and discussed so as to identify best practices and reproduce them

6 – “Management of European funds by local governments and involvement of the social and economic actors”

International event, Barcelona, Spain

Content: The event will be focused on the “Management of European funds by local governments and involvement of the social and economic actors”. Policy-makers, citizens and other involved social and economic actors will debate on the funding opportunities and mechanisms of European policies and programmes. The discussion will especially address opportunities for civic participation in local governance and for regional economic development (CLLD). There will be 70 participants, of which 35 internationals, but the event is also intended to reach more people.

Expected results: 

  • An international discussion promoting citizens’ active participation and European policies, programs and structural funds that support it is carried out
  • A deeper understanding of European institutions and funding opportunities at the local level is fostered
  • Participants increase their sense of belonging and support to European institutions and develop an attitude to active European citizenship


7 – “Sustainable urban transport and civic participation in metropolitan cities”

International event, Zagreb, Croatia

Content: The event will address “Sustainable urban transport and civic participation in metropolitan cities”. It will focus on how citizens’ participation in the Metropolis can improve dialogue and decision-making in the field of urban public transports. Sharing the experience of Zagreb and debating with the participants will help to find new ways to improve and enlarge these processes. The event will be the occasion to present the project outcomes (results, video, and publication) and discuss follow-ups. 70 participants will be gathered, including 35 international ones.

 Expected results: 

  • An international dialogue is fostered that will help sharing experiences and finding best practices on citizens’ involvement in decision-making on a central topic of metropolitan cities: urban public transports and mobility
  • The Network of Metropolitan cities decides on follow-ups and further engagement towards civic participation and cities cooperation
  • A large number of people is reached thanks to the dissemination, the video, and the publication


8 – Local activities

Local activities, all partner countries

Content: Each metropolitan city will host participative local activities, in which the citizens will be involved in discussing on one or more of the 5 topics of the international conferences. They will gather around 25 participants from every walk of life (youth, policy makers, foreigners living in the metropolitan area, etc.) with the aim to actively involve them in the decision-making process of metropolitan cities. Participants will also discuss further initiatives to improve civic participation.

Expected results: 

  • An active dialogue between policy makers and citizens at the local level is created
  • The resulting decision-making is improved through direct democracy
  • A coherent dialogue is fostered within metropolitan areas and between the network of metropolitan cities that will share and discuss the outcomes reached at local level during the project


9 – Website

Website creation and management, online

Content: A website in English will be realised at the very beginning of the project, and it will be used throughout the duration of it and possibly beyond to share documentation on civic participation in local governance, on the project’s activities, and to inform on best practices. Partner Metropoles will actively participate in the website by providing relevant documentation on local events and international seminars.

 Expected results: 

  • Information sharing on civic participation and on the governance of metropolitan cities is facilitated
  • A discussion on these topics is promoted through the online platform
  • A larger public is reached to share communications on project activities and outcomes
  • Awareness on European initiatives and local opportunities for citizens’ participation in decision-making is raise

10 – Documentary

Video production, all partner countries

Content: A documentary will be shot during the project. It will present the various partners and their initiatives for civic participation and enhanced local governance. It will also focus on the debates carried out at local level and during international seminars and present the results obtained during the project. It will be disseminated during the final event, and will be accessible directly from the website of the project.

Expected results: 

  • The project, and specifically the initiatives and activities of the partners regarding civic participation and local governance, have a better exposure to the public
  • The image of the Network of Metropolitan cities is strengthened
  • Communication to a larger public is facilitated


11 – Publication

Publication production, online

Content: A publication will be elaborated and disseminated to the project participants in addition to being directly available on the project website. It will present the results of MEANING and of each local event.

Expected results: 

  • The project, and specifically the initiatives and activities of the partners regarding civic participation and local governance, have a better exposure to the public
  • The image of the Network of Metropolitan cities is strengthened é
  • Communication to a larger public is facilitated


Lead partner:

  1. Città Metropolitana di Milano, Milan, Italy

Other partners: 

  1. Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  2. Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area, Gdańsk,Poland
  3. Grad Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
  4. Città Metropolitana di Bari, Bari, Italy
  5. Riga City Council, Riga, Latvia
  6. ALDA – the European Association for Local Democracy, Strasbourg, France
  7. Área Metropolitana do Porto, Porto, Portugal