Despite the UK’s exit from the European Union, Leeds and German city Dortmund are committing to strengthening relations with each other and have re-signed their memorandum of understanding to work on and share valuable insights around issues like climate change, economic development and health and wellbeing.
The two cities have been partners for 52 years and with the UK now out of the EU, the cities wanted to reaffirm their ongoing and successful partnership by pledging to continue to work together across social, educational, cultural and economic exchange and to increase the prosperity of the cities of Leeds and Dortmund, as well as their residents.
By committing to their continued relationship, the local authorities in both the UK and Germany can benefit from shared learning, advice and best practice from one another, particularly at a time of great change in the UK-European relationship.
After World War II, cities all over Europe, particularly in the UK, Germany and France started twinning to nurture international understanding on a people to people level and to build peace between European nations.
The friendship between Leeds and Dortmund has developed into a strategic partnership which encourages co-operation around key city challenges and recently the partnership has seen the two cities sharing best practice around responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting, Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake said: “In renewing this memorandum of understanding during our most challenging times, with the departure of the UK from the European Union and the unprecedented impacts of the pandemic goes to show how committed we are as a city to uphold these important connections and collaborate with cities outside of our own for mutual benefit.
“We are very proud to be able to continue our partnership with the City of Dortmund, which plays a crucial role in sharing experience and learnings to support the local economy and create jobs, to assist social and community cohesion, to nurture cultural diversity and to embrace internationalism.”
Commenting, Mayor of Dortmund, Thomas Westphal said: “I am very pleased that through this memorandum of understanding, the City of Dortmund can renew and reinforce its commitment to a town twinning which dates back to 1969, after more than 50 years of successful co-operation.
“In light of Brexit and the worldwide pandemic, the signing of this new agreement is a strong symbol for the basic idea of a united Europe. This memorandum of understanding promotes the bilateral co-operation between Leeds and Dortmund as big cities with closely linked communities. I would like to thank my colleague Councillor Judith Blake for initiating the signing of this new agreement.”
Plans are also in place for Leeds to sign new memorandum of understandings with our other European partner cities, including Lille in France and Brnó in the Czech Republic, underlining Leeds City Council’s commitment to international co-operation with partners across Europe.