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Speech mayor


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Speech mayor

  1. 1. Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, Mayor of Tampere 9September 2013 at 9.00 Opening speech Ladies and Gentlemen! Tampere hosted the EU Summit in 1999, at which the future immigration policies of the European Union were set out. Now, 14 years later, we are pleased to host the Eurocities conference, which continues the theme and assesses the developments in immigration matters in the years since then. Internationality comes naturally to Tampere, as it has been an integral part of our city from the beginning. King Gustav III of Sweden founded Tampere on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids in 1779. The city grew slowly into the largest export city in the Nordic countries, thanks mainly to the industrial operations started by Swedish, German, and Russian immigrants. Many of the textile and workshop factories in Tampere were founded by immigrants in the 19th century, when the rapids were first used to provide hydropower. Although our immigrant population is small compared to many middle European cities, in recent years immigration has accounted for roughly half of the city’s annual population increase. Export industry continues to have a significant role in business life in Tampere, but the textile industry has been replaced by information and communications technology. Two internationally recognized universities and a university of applied sciences attract students and researches to our city from around the world. Tampere has participated in the Eurocities network since 1996. Cooperation between European cities creates new channels of influence within Europe, and also enhances cooperation and provides peer support in various sectors. The immigration and integration workgroup of the Eurocities network is an excellent example of this. In addition to making our voice heard in European forums and sharing local level experiences on integration, we have learnt from others and have received valuable support from our colleagues. Tampere is among the signatories to the Integrating Cities Charter, which outlines the criteria and objectives for well-organized integration. We have a long way to go, but are sincere in our determination to meet these aims. At this conference, three additional cities –Toulouse, Montpellier and Brussels – will sign the Charter. I warmly welcome you all to Tampere, and wish to express my best wishes for a successful and enjoyable conference!