Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, Mayor of Tampere
9September 2013 at 9.00
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have a significant role in business life in Tampere, but the textile industry has been replaced by information and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