Interview with Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg

Mr. Mayor, why is Strasbourg a progressive city?

Strasbourg is a progressive city because it explores new pathways.

This is an important element in the political context of today as we do not know where we are heading to exactly and the political parties' old instruments have become outdated. This phenomenon is not new. At the end of the 60s in the socialist movement for example, the SFIO (the French section of the international working party) weakened and the political apparatus disappeared with it. The Socialist Progressive Movement nevertheless remained. It took other forms and I think it will surely reinvent itself again in the future. Since the cave age, there have been conservatives (who cling to what exists thinking things could be worse) as well as progressives (to which I belong) who try to explore new ways. They take the risk of committing mistakes of course but in my view, “if you stand still you do not prepare the future”.


Mr. Mayor, how does Strasbourg contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were unanimously adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and Strasbourg contributes to their implementation.

For example, our city has been developing a new transport and urban mobility policy for almost 30 years and is even working beyond it now. It is not just a question of changing our transport habits and of moving away from our “all-automotive” world, but also of changing the urban development model. The 60s model is outdated and has led us to a dead end. It is thus necessary to make urban planning denser, non-proliferating and respective of the countryside's space. This means that nature should thus also have its place in our cities. In the end, all these objectives are part of the Sustainable Development Goals to which we can also add the issue of solidarity. Today more than ever, we focus on our cities, regions and countries when we should be thinking at a more global level. This is what the SDGs mean in practice. We only have one planet. We need to protect it and change our behaviour.


Roland Ries has been Mayor of Strasbourg since 2008. He belongs to the French Socialist Party.