Under the auspices of the EU, mayors are beginning to act like diplomats, brokering deals and defusing geopolitical disputes. On the one hand, such “city diplomacy” offers benefits: cities are reaching spots that the EU ordinarily cannot, flipping conventional hierarchies and making big issues seem small. On the other, it is potentially destabilizing in an era in which the exercise of power can have far-reaching consequences. Harnessing the activism of cities will be difficult, but not impossible.
The EU’s Hidden Capacity to Act