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Municipal treasurers
unprepared for sudden
strength of Swiss franc

Zurich, 18 January 2015:
Last week’s unexpected decision by the Swiss National Bank to abandon the franc’s fixed link of Sfr1.20 to one euro has sent shockwaves through the treasury departments of many local and regional authorities in Europe. First indications are that municipalities in Germany, France and Austria, which took out loans denominated in Swiss francs, will face considerably higher repayment costs. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, Swiss banks and other European financial institutions offered long-term franc-loans at interest rates that were much lower than those available in euros. At a time when the exchange rate between the euro and the Swiss franc was relatively stable, many local government treasurers believed the financial packages offered were too good to miss. Since then the value of the euro has dropped from an average of Sfr1.50 to almost parity.

Recent research by Reuters showed that French communities owed some five billion euros linked to the Swiss franc. Since the Swiss decision to allow the country’s currency to free-float, this debt has nominally increased by some 24 per cent. Reuters was told that the euro’s drop had also led to an ‘explosion’ of interest rates. “In some cases interest rates have doubled and tripled.”

The London-based Guardian newspaper reported in 2011 that Saint-Tropez, on the French Riveria, took out a 20-year loan with an interest rate, which was initially fixed at four cent but has been pegged to the value of the Swiss franc since 2012. With the franc at its present value, the interest on the loan could be as high as 30 per cent.

Austria’s capital Vienna also took out a Swiss-franc denominated loan before the financial upheaval in 2008. At the end of 2014, when one euro was worth Sfr1.20, the value of the debt was estimated to be €1.66 billion. Now with an exchange rate of virtually one to one, the size of the debt has increased by some €300 million. Federal states in Austria, which also face considerable losses, include Salzburg, Kärnten and Tirol.

In North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s largest state, some 29 local authorities are thought to have taken out loans linked to the Swiss franc. Gladbeck, a town of some 74,000 people has outstanding debts of 85 million francs or more than 1,000 francs per citizen. Mayor Ulrich Roland has warned that loan repayments are bound to increase dramatically.

The city of Essen, also in North-Rhine Westphalia, missed an opportunity to repay its 450-million Swiss franc loan last year, which it could have done for €374 million. Today, the city treasurer would have to find an additional €70 million but Lars Martin Klieve remains stoic. The euro will recover, he believes. In the meantime, the treasurers of Konstanz and Säckingen – both cities are on the border with Switzerland – have warned that municipal charges may have to go up if the strength of the Swiss franc continues.

Rome to bid for 2024
Olympics amidst
corruption and recession

Rome, 29 December 2014:
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that Rome would go ahead with its bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics despite of a massive corruption investigation in the country’s capital city. Earlier this month, the police arrested some 40 people after it had uncovered a criminal network in Rome, dubbed Mafia Capitale. The authorities also placed more than 100 people, including Rome’s former mayor Gianni Alemanno, under investigation. The charges include extortion, corruption, fraud, money laundering and embezzlement.

The police alleged that criminal gangs, whose members include Massimo Carminati, a notorious criminal who was given a 10-year prison sentence in 1998, were awarded municipal contracts after bribing and threatening city officials. In clandestine recordings gang members are heard to tell municipal employees that they faced dire consequences unless work was given to criminal front companies. “You need us to dig ditches? Erect hoardings?” Fine, we’ll do it. If I then find out that someone else did it - then it becomes something unpleasant.”

Gianni Alemanno, who was Mayor of Rome from 2008 until June 2013 and one of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi closest political allies, has denied any wrongdoing despite the authorities saying that a powerful criminal network involving mafia-style gang members, senior politicians and public managers had infiltrated City Hall. The police also alleged that the network had close links with neo-fascist groups. Until the accusations surfaced, Alemanno was a senior figure in the Brothers of Italy party, which traces its origins to Mussolini’s fascism.

Rome’s current centre-left mayor has ordered a review of all city contracts.

The Italian Prime Minister’s announcement that Rome would go ahead with its bid to host the 2014 Olympics has been met with derision and criticism. Politicians from the left and right called the plan madness. “The investigations into Rome and the mafia are ongoing and now we want to hand them the Olympics on a plate?” asked Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League. Rome was a candidate for the 2020 Olympics but the bid was dropped by the then Prime Minister Mario Monti, who said it would have been an unacceptable drain on public resources.

Italy, which is currently experiencing its worst recession since World War II, has, according to a report by the European Commission, more incidents of corruption than any other EU member country.

Anti-corruption mayor
wins Romanian
presidential election

Bucharest, 16 November 2014:
One of Romania’s most popular mayors won yesterday’s presidential elections much more comfortably than even exit polls had predicted. Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German, defeated the country’s Prime Minister by 55 to 45 per cent in the run-off after having trailed his opponent by ten percentage points in the first round of voting. The president-elect, who has been mayor of the city of Sibiu (Hermannstadt) since 2000, succeeded by mobilising young voters and was strongly supported by the Romanian diaspora in Italy, Germany and Britain.

Klaus Iohannis' political rise can be attributed to the good reputation that has followed him for years. As mayor of Sibiu, he has already been re-elected four times, each time with a comfortable majority of 70 to 80 per cent. The former physics teacher is valued for how he fundamentally reformed and renovated the partially dilapidated medieval city. In 2007, Sibiu was recognised as one of the best examples of European integration: the year of Romania's ascension to the European Union, the city was chosen - along with Luxembourg - as European Capital of Culture.

The region is also booming economically. Hundreds of foreign investors, mainly from Germany and Austria, have settled there and helped to ensure that unemployment has trended towards zero. To compare: The overall unemployment rate in Romania, according to Eurostat, comes in at just over seven per cent.

In a country where corruption at all level of politics is rife, the Klaus Iohannis is highly regarded for his honesty and integrity. He promised that as President he would lead the political, moral, and economic regeneration of his country. "I am running because I wish to establish a new kind of politics on our country. Less show, less noise, and more concrete solutions for citizens, for Romania," he said in an interview before the election.

In Romania, the President shares power with the Prime Minister and Parliament. He is ultimately responsible for foreign policy and defence and also oversees the appointment of top state prosecutors and the heads of the intelligence services.

Mayor invites architects
from across the world
to reinvent Paris

Paris, 9 November 2014:
Barely a week after the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Europe’s most exciting new museum this century, opened in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne, Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced an architectural competition aiming to create new landmarks at 23 sites across the city. Paris will ask internationally renowned architects to produce ideas that will prefigure what the French capital might be like in the future. The Mayor said that each team would be asked to present concepts on how to bring added vitality to exceptional Parisian sites. The winners will then be able to purchase or rent the sites to carry out their projects while simultaneously conducting an urban experiment on an unparalleled scale.

When launching the project, Mayor Hidalgo told some 200 architects and developers that there was no other city in the world that has dared to do what we are doing today. “A city like Paris must be able to reinvent itself at every moment in order to meet the many challenges facing it. Particularly in terms of housing and everything relating to density, desegregation, energy and resilience. It is important in today's world to find new collective ways of working that will give shape to the future metropolis,” she detailed.

The mayor urged architects to be bold. “Surprise us by offering Parisians a new vision of their city, revealing new quarters with a wealth of possibilities.”

Jean-Louis Missika, the city’s deputy mayor, went into further detail. “The ‘Reinventing Paris’ call for projects should enable urban professionals of many disciplines to experiment and give concrete shape to the range of innovations that Paris needs. Far from limiting themselves merely to architectural audacity, their projects can address innovation in all its dimensions. The objective is not to innovate on all fronts but to seek out, for each site, the most pertinent type of innovation and reveal cutting-edge solutions.”

Spanish authorities arrest
51 suspected of local
government corruption

Madrid, 28 October 2014:
Spanish police have arrested 51 people in connection with one of the country’s most widespread operations against corruption in local government. A spokesman for Spain’s public prosecutor said the collusion between local councillors and civil servants with builders and utility companies as well as the corruption of middle-men and key companies, had helped them to secure contracts worth around €250 million (US$320m) in the last two years alone.

Spanish newspapers reported that those arrested included the former Popular Party senator and deputy first minister of Madrid, Francisco Granados, the Popular Party chairman of the province of León, Marcos Martínez, and the mayors of six towns in Greater Madrid, including Valdemoro, Parla, Collado Villalba, Torrejón de Velasco, Casarrubielos and Serranillos.

Most of the arrested politicians belong to Spain’s governing centre-right Popular Party (PP) but a former Socialist Party (PSE) mayor of the south-eastern city of Cartagena was also detained.

The 51 suspects will be charged with money laundering, falsifying documents, tax crimes, bribery, influence peddling, misuse of funds, misconduct in public office, revealing secrets, undertaking negotiations prohibited to civil servants, administrative fraud and criminal organisation. Banks have been ordered to block 400 accounts. The public prosecutor also ordered the seizure of more than 250 properties and 30 luxury motorcars. His office said that elected local government officials and civil servants awarded contracts to construction companies and other businesses in exchange for backhanders.

Operation Punic is ongoing but comes nine months after Swiss authorities tipped off their Spanish counterparts in January. Francisco Granados resigned as a PP senator in February 2014 after the Spanish daily El Mundo uncovered the existence of a €1.5 million Swiss bank account in his name.

In April, an investigation by The Spain Report found that Spanish courts were investigating some 1,660 political and economic cases.

Plenty of candidates
but no front runner
for London 2016

London, 22 October 2014:
Plans to charge voters £10 each to participate in a primary election to select Labour’s challenger in London’s 2016 mayoral election have been slammed by candidates.  Despite an earlier pledge to hold a ‘US-style’ open primary to select the party’s candidate, plans have since been diluted to introduce an ‘administration charge’ to participate, between £3 and £10, in the name of deterring ‘frivolous’ votes.  The May 2016 election will see a new mayor whatever the parties decide as current mayor Boris Johnson is standing down in order to return to the UK Parliament.

Among those likely to seek Labour’s nomination for the 2016 mayoral race are former government ministers Tessa Jowell, Margaret Hodge, Sadiq Khan, Andrew Adonis and David Lammy.  Recent polling shows former Olympics minister Jowell to be the frontrunner among the voting public.  Other than Lammy and transport expert Christian Wolmar, none of the others has formally declared their candidacy.

While Jowell and Hodge, who chairs the UK Parliament’s public spending watchdog committee, have performed well in recent polling, even among non-Labour voters, the likes of former transport secretary Lord Adonis and Lammy have scant support.  Khan, Labour’s ‘Shadow Minister for London’, is known to prefer to await the outcome of the 2015 UK general election and the prospect of national office before declaring any mayoral bid.  Diane Abbott, a long time associate of former mayor Ken Livingstone and until recently a shadow minister, is also likely to run, while Baroness Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, has also been suggested.

At this stage, no Conservative figures have identified themselves with the race to succeed Boris Johnson as mayor following his decision to stand again for Parliament in 2015.  Names frequently floated in connection with the role include former 2012 Olympics chief Lord Seb Coe and businesswoman turned television personality Baroness Karren Brady, both of whom have sought to deny any speculation.  City Hall deputy mayors Stephen Greenhalgh and Victoria Borwick have also been associated with taking on Boris’ mantle but lack the public recognition required to take on Labour’s machine big-hitters.

Berlin’s next mayor
chooses pragmatism
over showmanship

Berlin, 19 October 2014:
Berlin’s senator for economic development, who once said that he did not do glamour, is all but certain to become the next Mayor (Regierender Bürgermeister) of the German capital after he defeated his two rivals in the first round of the governing Social Democratic Party’s (SPD’s) primary election. Michael Müller, whom a local newspaper reporter once addressed as Mr Grey (Herr Grau) will succeed the flamboyant and sometimes outrageous Klaus Wowereit, who decided to step down after 13 years in office. The Christian Democrats (CDU), the SPD’s junior coalition partner in the Berlin Senate, have already confirmed that they would support his candidacy in December’s parliamentary vote.

Michael Müller’s decisive victory surprised many in Berlin. When, in August, Klaus Wowereit announced that he would resign, Müller was seen by many as an outsider. Even party colleagues rated his chances as remote. After all, only a few months earlier his pet project to build housing on the redundant Tempelhof Airport was turned down overwhelmingly in a Berlin-wide referendum.

Despite their different personalities, Berlin’s 49-year old Mayor-designate was the outgoing mayor’s favourite candidate. Klaus Wowereit found him utterly loyal and regarded him as the most competent member of his administration. This sentiment is supported by Berlin’s leading newspapers. The Berlin edition of Die Welt described Michael Müller as pragmatic, dependable but with little charisma, while Der Tagesspiegel wrote during the campaign that he was objective to the point of boredom but conceded after yesterday’s victory that his lack of vanity and desire to avoid the spotlight has become attractive after many years of showmanship in Berlin’s city hall.

Of Europe’s six most important capital cities, four - Berlin, Paris, Rome and Vienna - are governed by left-of-centre mayors, while Madrid and London have conservative mayors.

Italian mayors defy
interior minister over
same-sex marriage

Rome, 12 October 2014:
Italy’s conservative interior minister Angelino Alfano has said he was ready to commence battle against some of the country’s best known mayors over the issue of same-sex marriage. Progressive mayors in cities like Rome, Florence, Triste, Pisa, Naples and Bologna have started to include gay marriage unions performed abroad in their cities’ register. Because Italy is the last major Western European country that does not allow same-sex couples to marry or enter civil partnerships, many go abroad to form a legal union.

The minister’s opposition to gay marriage is in contrast to Italy’s traditional tolerance towards homosexuals. Since 1890 there has been no law against homosexual acts performed in private among consenting adults. It has always been thought that homosexuality was an issue of morality and should be dealt with by the Catholic Church and not the State.

The overly aggressive response by the interior minister to what is after all a rather symbolic act by some big-city mayors has caught even members of his own party by surprise. Angelino Alfano was for many years a faithful lieutenant to the disgraced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi but split from him a year ago to co-found the New Centre-Right (Nuovo Centrodestra, NCD).

The party, while comparing itself to conservative parties in Germany, France and the UK, has not yet fully embraced equal rights for gays and lesbians. Nevertheless, many of Alfano’s party colleagues feel the minister’s action could cause discord within the coalition government, which is led by Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party. The timing of the minister’s move has also been criticised as Pope Francis is currently hosting an extraordinary Synod of Bishops to discuss family matters. The Pope feels that “issues of family and marriage require deeper interpretation given the signs of the times.”

But Minister Alfano maintained that the inclusion of same-sex unions in marriage registers contravened Italian law. Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino responded by calling the minister a social dinosaur. "Anyone looking today for conflict over love probably lives in the wrong century. I believe that a discussion of this type in 2014 on any civil union reflects the feelings and visions of the 1900s. the mayor said. Bologno’s Mayor Virginio Merola said he would disobey the minister, while Milan’s Mayor Guiliano Pisapia personally recorded the foreign marriages of seven same-sex couples.

Barcelona captures
top Bloomberg prize
to help older citizens

London, 18 September 2014:
Barcelona has captured the first prize in a competition that aims to encourage European cities to develop novel approaches to improve urban life, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced. Barcelona was awarded five million euro ($6.5 million) as top finisher. Four others were awarded one million euros ($1.3 million) each: the metropolitan area of Kirklees, England and the cities of Stockholm; Warsaw, Poland; and Athens, Greece. Barcelona will receive the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge Grand Prize for Innovation and €5 million toward its proposal to create a digital and community ‘trust network’ for each of its at-risk elderly residents.

More than 150 top cities from 28 nations entered the 2014 Mayors Challenge. The winning cities were selected based on four criteria: their idea’s vision and creativity, potential for impact, transferability, and viability of implementation. Their evolving ideas reflect a diverse array of complex and common challenges facing cities today:

Barcelona, Spain: Collaborative Care Networks for Better Aging
More than one in five Barcelona residents is over 65, and by 2040, one in four will be. As lives grow longer, Barcelona – like many cities globally – is grappling with new health problems and debilitating social isolation. To address this growing problem, Barcelona will use digital and low-tech strategies to create a network of family members, friends, neighbours, social workers, and volunteers who together make up a "trust network" for each at-risk elderly resident. This will help identify gaps in care, enable coordination of support, and promote quality of life.

Athens, Greece: Synathina, a Public Platform for Engaged Citizens
The devastating economic crisis has affected employment, infrastructure, as well as life in urban centres in Greece. Athens will create an online platform that will connect the new dynamic input of civil society with local institutions and local government to collaboratively devise solutions to local problems, ensuring solid foundations and sustainable policies for the revival of Athens’ neighbourhoods.

Kirklees, UK: Kirklees Shares
Budget cuts in Kirklees are eating into government programmes and services. The city will embrace the sharing economy to make use of untapped local resources so it can do more with less. Kirklees will pool the idle assets of the government and non-profit sectors – from lawnmowers to trucks, unused space to citizens’ skills and expertise – and make these assets available through an online sharing platform that will allow for borrowing, bartering, and time-banking.

Stockholm, Sweden: Biochar - for a Better City Ecosystem
Stockholm, like many global cities, is confronting the effects of climate change. Stockholm will create a citywide program that activates citizens as front-line change agents to curb this escalating problem. Together, the city and its residents will produce biochar, an organic substance that increases tree growth, sequesters carbon, and purifies storm water runoff. Citizens will bring their green waste to locations across the city for conversion to biochar and, ultimately, redistribution.

Warsaw, Poland: Virtual Warsaw - Urban Information System for Visually Impaired
The blind and visually impaired are too often cut off from their peers and forced to spend huge amounts of time getting around cities. To facilitate mobility for the visually impaired, Warsaw will place thousands of beacons around the city that communicate with users through mobile apps. These tools promise to transform lives, saving the visually impaired hours of travel per day and allowing them greater self-sufficiency.

Madrid honours
Margaret Thatcher
but London resists

Madrid, 17 September 2014:
The decision of Madrid’s Mayor Ana Botella to rename a city square in honour of the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has been applauded by right-wing politicians in the UK but criticised by opposition politicians in Spain. Botella’s ruling right-wing People’s Party decided to name the square in honour of the divisive leader on account of her being “an inspiration” to conservatives, but the leader of the city’s United Left party dismissed the gesture as “disrespectful” by ideologically lauding the notorious “pioneer” of cuts and privatisation at a time of severe austerity and unemployment in Spain.

The new Plaza Margaret Thatcher is in the upscale Salamanca district, home to many corporate headquarters of Spanish and multinational firms. Despite historic clashes between the right-wing parties of both countries over issues such as the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and Atlantic fishing rights, Conservative politicians in the UK decried the lack of a similar public space honouring her political contribution in London. London mayor Boris Johnson has repeatedly called for Thatcher, who represented one of London’s seats in the UK Parliament, to be honoured with some form of permanent memorial in the capital, despite her famously abolishing Greater London’s local government in 1986.

In Madrid, even centrist politicians have likened the gesture to an attempt to “politicise” the city’s streets, not least on account of any direct link between the UK prime minister, who died last year and governed between 1979 and 1990, and the city itself. Other foreign political leaders honoured by Madrid place names include, perhaps also controversially, Chilean socialist president Salvador Allende, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and fellow Nobel-winning Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin. Thatcher herself was famously outraged in 1981 when the Iranian authorities renamed Winston Churchill Boulevard, location of the British Embassy, as Bobby Sands Street, in honour of the Irish republican leader who died in a prison hunger strike that year.

The ceremony to inaugurate the new square, which had lacked an official name, was attended by Mayor Botella, the UK ambassador to Spain and Thatcher’s son Mark but not her daughter Carol. Current UK Prime Minister David Cameron sent a message of thanks to the event, saying he was “so encouraged that the People’s Party and the Mayor of Madrid are remembering Margaret Thatcher’s enduring legacy in this very special way.”

Prior to this week’s dedication ceremony, Botella held a press conference where she announced her decision to stand down as mayor at the 2015 municipal elections. Madrid’s deputy mayor since 2003 under mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, she was elected mayor in December 2011 following Ruiz-Gallardón becoming justice minister in the new People’s Party government of Mariano Rajoy. Rajoy also replaced Botella’s husband José María Aznar as national party leader in 2004 following its defeat at the hands of the Socialists that year.

English cities retain less
of local tax product than
many foreign competitors

London, 4 August 2014:
Last week England’s eight biggest cities outside London called on the British government to grant them greater freedom to control their own destinies. The leaders of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield claimed that transferring powers from central to local government would create 1.16 million new jobs and add £222 billion (US$375bn) to the national economy by 2030.

Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, said that he knew his city better than anyone in Whitehall (London’s government district). “If Liverpool was able to retain more of the taxes it raises we could use them to generate the right skills to enable people to get jobs, attract more investment and give more support to business. At the moment 95 per cent of taxes raised in Liverpool are sent to the government whereas cities in Germany, Sweden, Canada and the US keep up to 10 times more. We need more decentralisation if we are to compete globally," the mayor maintained.

Mayor Anderson was correct when he asserted that in the UK local tax income as a percentage of total tax revenue was woefully low but it is by no means the lowest amongst EU or OECD member countries. According to the Paris-based OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), local tax proceeds in the UK account for just under five per cent of total tax revenue, while it was more than 15 per cent in the US and 13 and eight per cent in France and Germany respectively. In Japan local taxes account for more than 25 per cent of total revenue, while in the Czech Republic, Greece and Mexico the corresponding figures are below two per cent.

Local tax revenue as percentage of total
general tax revenue in selected countries

Local tax
South Korea
New Zealand
Slovak Republic
Czech Republic
Source: OECD

English mayors’
use of Twitter
still in its infancy

London, 1 July 2014:
While most leading politicians insist that social media plays an important part in their efforts to communicate with voters, Britain’s elected mayors only make half-hearted use of sites such as Twitter. Only the British capital’s mayor Boris Johnson can claim that a sizeable proportion of Londoners follows his tweets, even though many of his 900,000 plus followers are probably admirers from across the country and indeed the world. Of England’s 16 elected mayors, eleven maintain personal Twitter accounts to respond to and address their fellow citizens. With a following of 934,000, London’s Boris Johnson potentially reaches more than eleven per cent of residents while, with a reach-score of 4.5 per cent, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson is distant second to his colleague in London.

Boris Johnson started tweeting almost immediately after he defeated Ken Livingstone in May 2008. Other mayors like Bristol’s George Ferguson or Liverpool’s Joe Anderson signed up to Twitter more recently. The Mayor of Mansfield’s love for Twitter only lasted from March to August 2011.

With Twitter’s unspoken etiquette of ‘I follow you and then you follow me’, one of the reasons for Boris Johnson’s success in attracting followers is the large number of individuals and organisations (3,871) he proclaims to follow. Other mayors, with the exception of Tower Hamlet’s Lutfur Rahman, all track less than one thousand Twitterers.

While English mayors with Twitter pages follow predominantly individuals and organisations with local connections, some are also keen to track the tweets of national and international people of prominence. Boris Johnson is a fan of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and also follows the tweets of the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron as well as those of Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and actor Danny DeVito. Liverpool’s mayor follows Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson on Twitter, while among the Twitter pages Bristol Mayor George Ferguson follows include those of J K Rowling, Arianne Huffington and Kevin Spacey.

English mayors on Twitter
On Twitter since
Population reach
Boris Johnson, London May 2008
George Ferguson. Bristol December 2011
Dave Hodgson, Bedford September 2009
Joe Anderson, Liverpool February 2012
Dorothy Thornhill, Watford July 2009
Lutfur Rahman, Tower Hamlets December 2010
Ros Jones, Doncaster n/a
Ian Stewart, Salford March 2012
Tony Egginton, Mansfield March 2011
Steve Bullock, Lewisham April 2009
Norma Redfearn, North Tyneside February 2012
Research: 30 June 2014

London’s Boris Johnson follows on Twitter:
Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister
Bertrand Delanoe, Former Mayor of Paris
Raymond Blank, Celebrity chef
Mo Farah, Olympic Gold medal winner
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft
Brian Paddick, Former Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor
Rupert Murdoch, Media mogul
David Miliband, Former UK foreign minister
Danny DeVito, Actor
Alan Rusbridger, Editor of The Guardian newspaper
William Hague, UK Foreign Minister

Liverpool’s Joe Anderson follows on Twitter
Daniel Finkelstein, Political commentator
Vince Cable, UK Business Secretary
Edwina Currie, Former Tory minister
John Prescott, Former UK Deputy Prime Minister
Kenneth Dalglish, Football manager
Mike Bloomberg, Former Mayor of New York
Alastair Campbell, Former spokesman for Tony Blair
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol
Tom Menino, Former Mayor of Boston
George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister)
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
Richard Branson, Entrepreneur

Bristol’s George Ferguson follows on Twitter
J K Rowling, Author of Harry Potter
Paddy Ashdown, Former leader of the Liberal Democrats
Arianna Huffington, Founder of the Huffington Post
Jamie Oliver, Celebrity chef
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool
Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister
John Prescott, Former UK Deputy Prime Minister
Rupert Murdoch, Media mogul
Kevin Spacey, Actor
Caroline Lucas, Britain’s only Green MP
Richard Branson, Entrepreneur

World Mayor 2014
26 mayors from across the world are competing for this year’s World Mayor Prize. THE RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON 3 FEBRUARY 2015

Municipal treasurers unprepared for sudden strength of Swiss franc

Rome to bid for 2024 Olympics amidst corruption and recession

Anti-corruption mayor wins Romanian presidential election

Mayor invites architects from across the world to reinvent Paris
(Photo: The Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris)

Spanish authorities arrest 51 suspected of local government corruption

Plenty of candidates but no front runner for London 2016
(Photo: London's City Hall with Tower Bridge)

Berlin’s next mayor chooses pragmatism over showmanship

Italian mayors defy interior minister over same-sex marriage

Barcelona captures top Bloomberg prize to help older citizens

Madrid honours Margaret Thatcher but London resists

English cities retain less of local tax product than many foreign competitors

English mayors’ use of Twitter still in its infancy