Leeds City Council has this week signed an agreement to strengthen relations with its Czech Sister City of Brno, as part of efforts to continue cooperation with European partners post-Brexit.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was re-signed at an online event by the Leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr James Lewis, and the Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková, outlines the two cities’ commitment to collaborate on topics such as economic development, arts & culture and community links & exchanges.
Leeds and Brno’s partnership dates back to the early 1990s when countries in Eastern Europe looked to develop relations with the EU following the fall of the former USSR. As the cities began to develop more links and exchanges, an official MOU was signed in 2003, formalising the partnership.
Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Re-signing this memorandum of understanding underlines Leeds’ commitment to maintaining and strengthening our relationship with Brno following the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“We are very proud of our ties with both Brno and our other partner cities around the world. These relationships have enriched many aspects of life in Leeds, from culture and sport to education and business, and are testament to the positive power of international co-operation. I look forward to seeing what can be achieved with the help of friends old and new in the years to come.”
Mayor of Brno, Markéta Vaňková said: “When the Memorandum of Understanding between the cities of Brno and Leeds was signed 18 years ago, more than 10 years of fruitful cooperation had preceded.
It was focused on many areas from education to city development strategy to culture. To this day, many interesting and useful projects have emerged from it, which have enriched both our cities. That is why we want to continue this inspiring dialogue with our British friends.“
Since the UK’s departure from the EU at the beginning of the 2021, Leeds has been working to promote continued cooperation with partners across Europe. This has included re-signing MOUs with long term partners, Brno and Dortmund, with plans in place to sign an updated MOU with Leeds French partner city, Lille, in the coming months.
Leeds has also joined with the UK’s other Core Cities to express its commitment to European cooperation through the Eurocities network.