According to the rescaling literature, the increasing global economic competition between metropolitan areas leads to new necessities for a political response to these developments. City partnerships and international networking are one of the instruments of such a response where cities try to increase their room for manoeuvre in the multi-level governance setting. It is theoretically unclear whether cities do this to stay competitive and therefore follow a neoliberal way of policy-making within these activities or if they try to regain political steering capacities to foster social cohesion through international networking. In general, there is a tendency of exclusion of the public in these international activities as they are mostly carried out in a top-down way of governing and do not involve citizens or parliamentary inclusion. The increased engagement of cities in international activities raises thus questions of democratic legitimacy. Our empirical analysis of the international activities of five Swiss and to European cities shows that not all cities are increasingly engaged in international activities. But those which are clearly target an increase of their global economic position with these activities.