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The EMA forum includes large European metropolises with similar dimension and urban reality, and fosters their representatives to share and discuss methodologies, initiatives, experiences and innovative projects related to metropolitan areas. Considering that 72% of the total EU population (almost 359 million people) live in large cities and metropolitan areas, and the forecast shows that in 2050 this figure will exceed 80%, the possibility of getting local metropolitan authorities together in a political space for debate such as EMA is full of meaning.

EMA a annual forum

Urban development is a phenomenon of reference to explain the first decade of the 21st century. Contemporary metropolises have become complex, autonomous and diverse entities, where all needs and interests of citizens are manifested. Is in major cities and metropolitan areas where higher national rates of economic growth, innovation and employment generation - in a general crisis and austerity scenario of public finances - are being produced. According to Eurostat 85% of the European GDP is concentrated in the cities.

Currently in Europe there are about 120 major cities and metropolitan areas. Countries such as France, Italy and The Netherlands have begun processes to create new metropolitan areas which will impact on their territorial governance. The major European cities and metropolitan areas have to weave alliances and should defend actively their interests and make proposals to the European Union such as European Urban Agenda Project and the implementation of European Funds 2014-2020.

There is therefore, metropolitan governance, really conditioned by the continuous demands on a variety of topics that are imposed on local political agendas –almost never administratively planned, nor economically provided– that has begun to be perceived. And it is not the same nor represents the same governance challenges, an Asian or Latin American megacity, a European or North American global-city, a capital-city of Africa with floating population, or a metropolitan-city which is the regional area reference. In all cases we can talk of threats and opportunities concerning basic public services, social exclusion, subsidized housing, safety, or economic, social and environmental sustainability. It is a new Agenda coming from the citizens' proximity emergencies, which are different according to the characteristics of each metropolitan reality, but that are always transferred to the most local authorities - without they have neither the resources nor the appropriate regulatory frameworks to give a response.

The EMA makes it possible to debate all these issues between representatives of European metropolises with similar urban realities holding an annual forum in which they can join forces in order to strengthen their role in front of the EU. The first edition of the EMA was held in Barcelona in 2015; the second one, in Turin in 2016, and the third in Warsaw in 2017.