Questions for Pierre LAPLANE, national representative

For me, a metropolitan area finds its true purpose within networks. But the networks should not be purely institutional. To be effective, they should be built on human relationships and discussion, which requires strong contacts with our peers.

 

 

Contact Pierre Laplane

What is the purpose of the BEST network?

As chief executives of metropolitan areas, we face challenges of development and social harmony that must be addressed with an open mind. We should therefore be particularly attentive to the experiences of other European cities.

For me, a metropolitan area finds its true purpose within networks. But the networks should not be purely institutional. To be effective, they should be built on human relationships and discussion, which requires strong contacts with our peers.

This is what the BEST network enables. The meetings also provide the opprtunity to step back, to set aside the pressures of our day-to-day work so that we can take stock of the public policy challenges that will shape the future of our regions.

How are the topics of the meetings chosen?

As local authority chief executives, we must have an encompassing vision of the phenomena impacting the development of metropolitan areas, and there are many of them. So, there is plenty of subject matter for our meetings. The most relevant to me are those that are changing rapidly and creating new challenges for local authorities, for all sorts of reasons. Dealing with migration, which I proposed when hosting the 12th meeting in Strasbourg, is a good example. Our responsibility in this matter continues to grow but, to put it mildly, we lack hindsight, experience and even a clear vision of the issues. Local authorities, the State and charitable organizations must coordinate their efforts. The question is less about skills than about building public policies and, in this respect, we must fulfil our mission to advise and support elected officials in shaping their strategic vision.

What lies ahead for BEST?

We want to strengthen the European dimension, which has proven of great interest, by organizing another meeting in a non-French metropolitan area, following the example of the session in Barcelona in Spring 2017.