For Media and Press

The Eurocities network’s economic forum brings cities together to help the economy recover

The Eurocities network’s economic forum brings cities together to help the economy recover

The Eurocities network of large European cities is bringing together city developers to resolve issues related recovery from the coronavirus crisis. As chairs of the Eurocities Economic Development Forum, Helsinki and its Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen alongside Mayor Päivi Laajala of Oulu, which will be hosting the event digitally, emphasise the role of cities in the process of recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Economic Development Forum, which will now be hosted entirely digitally for the first time, aims to highlight the importance of cities and innovations for recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

“Cities play a significant role in the recovery from the coronavirus crisis, and they have the competence and understanding to resolve challenges at the local level. Cities can also be involved in national solutions. Helsinki is engaging in active cooperation with businesses, and through these projects we can support the research and development activities of companies. Together with the six largest cities, we have also prepared measures to support the digitalisation of cities and regional businesses, and further employment and competence development services in our respective areas,” says Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Economic Development Forum Pia Pakarinen.

Various innovations, such as circular economy solutions, can be very important to boost recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Digitalisation and green growth are key for expediting the recovery. Helsinki will soon decide on an investment of EUR 20 million in circular economy business and entrepreneurship among higher education students and recent graduates. Helsinki Energy Challenge will also provide solutions to support our goal of reaching carbon neutrality,” Pakarinen adds.

Helsinki and Oulu are strongly committed to the implementation of Finland’s sustainable growth programme, within which cities and their innovation ecosystems play a prominent role.

The conference to be held in Oulu is the economic forum’s first meeting to be held online. The virtual arrangements have necessitated a new kind of approach and, as an example, Elisa’s 5G network will be used in the production of the event.

“The conference will focus especially on urban innovation ecosystems of which Oulu has some excellent examples, such as BusinessAsema, OuluHealth and the Port of Oulu innovation environment. Forum participants will surely gain plenty of useful ideas and tools,” says Mayor of Oulu Päivi Laajala.

The Economic Development Forum will focus on innovation activities and developing the vitality of cities

Eurocities is a network of large European cities that promotes the economic and social development of its member cities. The network includes 140 cities from 39 countries, which have a total population of about 130 million people. The secretariat is based in Brussels.

The Economic Development Forum is focused on shared themes that promote economic and innovation policies as well as the competitiveness of the network’s member cities. Helsinki’s term as the forum chair began in 2020. Pia Pakarinen serves as the forum’s chairperson.

More than 200 participants from cities throughout Europe will take part in the conference. The forum’s main speakers will be the EU Commissioner for Innovation Mariya Gabriel and Economic Commentator for Financial Times Martin Sandbu.

Additional information:
Innovative cities – creating a resilient economy 17–19 March 2021, programme:
Social media: #EDFcities

Deputy Mayor, EDF Chair Pia Pakarinen, Special Advisor Anniina Iskanius, tel. 050 599 3930,
Mayor of Oulu Päivi Laajala, Special Advisor and Contact Manager Karri Oikarinen, tel. 040 568 7291,