Euro mayors' meeting to be held in Riga

A high-profile annual meeting of mayors from Europe's capital cities will take place in Riga next year, the city council announced April 22.

The decision was confirmed at this year's event in Amsterdam by the mayors of Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Riga, Rome, Stockholm, Tallinn, Valletta, Vienna, Vilnius, Warsaw and Zagreb.

Commenting on the decision, Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs said: "In addition to issues such as employment, transportation, public utilities and others, which the summit traditionally focuses on, in Riga we are going to talk about innovation, IT technologies in urban management and air quality."

Aspects of the refugee crisis were also likely to be on the agenda, Ušakovs indicated.

He also tweeted himself officially inviting his counterparts to Latvia.

The Latvian capital will be the first in Eastern Europe to host the event. No exact dates or financing details have yet been released.

However, Ušakovs overshadowed the announcement by also provoking a storm of protest on social media while attending the Amsterdam event. On April 22 he posted a cryptic cartoon commentary on a recent estimation of the costs of the Soviet occupation, comparing it with inserting a stick into the wheels of a bicycle.

The cartoon drew numerous accusations that he was denying or trivializing the Soviet occupation period.

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