The Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Centre for European Reform (CER) will host a hybrid online and in-person discussion to launch the policy paper ‘Why cities must drive growth in the EU’s single market‘ by John Springford, Sander Tordoir and Lucas Resende Carvalho.

As the EU launches its 2024-2029 legislature, it faces major economic challenges. Economic growth is sluggish, lagging behind the US. The search for higher growth, coupled with the risk of global trade fragmentation, has rekindled European ambitions to further rely on deepening its internal market for services and capital – a strategy advocated by former Italian prime ministers Enrico Letta and Mario Draghi.

Since joining the EU in 2004, Central and Eastern European regions emerged as goods trade hubs, thanks to cheaper labour and land. But this convergence engine for manufacturing will eventually run out of steam.

Meanwhile, rapidly growing trade in high-value services, such as tech, finance and consulting, provide new opportunities for European economic dynamism. But unlike goods trade, these activities tend to concentrate heavily in already large and prosperous cities.

  • As the EU contemplates deepening the single market, how can it boost economic growth from service trade integration while spreading out the gains?
  • Should the EU reorient its regional policy to invest in cities that show promise in services exports, from peripheral EU capitals, such as Athens and Lisbon, to smaller knowledge hubs, such as Krakow or Leipzig?
  • And what should it do for regions that can neither climb the manufacturing value ladder nor tap into services trade?

To share this new study with you, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Centre for European Reform has the pleasure of cordially inviting you to our event in Brussels:

The EU Needs a City-led Strategy to Get Growth From its Single Market

The event will take place on 20 June 2024, from 3:00 pm CET at the Press Club Brussels Europe (Rue Froissart 95, 1040 Brussels). Check-in begins at 2:30 pm CET.


Lucas Resende Carvalho, Project Manager in the Europe’s Future Programme at the Bertelsmann Stiftung, and John Springford, Associate Fellow at the CER, will open the event by presenting the main findings and recommendations of the policy brief, then the following panellists will respond:

  • Peter Berkowitz, Director, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy
  • Cinzia Alcidi, Head of the Economic Policy and Jobs & Skills Unit, Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Frederik Toscani, Deputy Representative to the EU, International Monetary Fund
  • Chiara Venturini, Head of Digital Transformation & Economic Development, Eurocities

This will be followed by a Q&A discussion moderated by John Springford, held under the Chatham House Rule.

A reception will take place after the discussion, concluding at 5:30 pm CET.

Please register for the event using this general registration link.

ATTENTION: With this general link, you first need to pre-register and enter your personal data to then register for the event. When you enter your personal data here, it is NOTa registration for the event!

About the author

Lucas Resende Carvalho is a Project Manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung in the Europe’s Future Programme.

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