Eurocities, an association of 95 major European cities from 26 European countries, intends to support cities in the accession countries to integrate themselves into the Union.
It set up the Eurocities East West Committee in 1994 in order to facilitate the exchange of experience and the transfer of knowledge between EU cities and the Cities of Central and Eastern Europe.
Cities have to implement major parts of EU legislation but are not involved in pre-accession strategy nor sufficiently trained and prepared for membership, states Eurocities.
It warns that the contribution which cities can make to the enlargement process should not be neglected. Within the enlargement process cities should actively support and endorse tasks such as institution building and the implementation at the local level of the acquis communautaire through adequate exchanges of experience information and good practice and through training and secondment schemes.
This would require the direct involvement of local authorities in setting the priorities and implementing the activities undertaken within the framework of the pre-accession partnerships at the national level, says Eurocities.