50% of EU citizens believe that their locally and regionally elected representatives are better able to represent them at the EU level.
The Committee of the Regions brings the EU closer to its citizens
Since 70% of EU legislation has a direct regional and local impact:
- EU citizens must be involved in the construction of the EU.
- The elected authorities closest to citizens should be able to communicate their views during the preparation of EU legislation.
Since its establishment in 1994, the CoR has worked to bring citizens closer to the European Union. In 2009, the Lisbon Treaty strengthened recognition of the Committee of the Regions' role.
Local and regional authorities at your side
The Committee of the Regions is the EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives.
Its 344 members - regional presidents, mayors or elected representatives of regions and cities:
- live and work in the regions or cities they come from,
- are in touch with their electorates' concerns,
- speak for their voters at the very heart of the EU decision-making and legislative process and keep them abreast of EU developments,
- host meetings and conferences of the Committee of the Regions in their regions or cities.
Areas of competence: a direct impact on citizens
Successive Treaties have broadened the Committee of the Regions' role. Since the Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, the Committee of the Regions has to be consulted throughout the legislative process involving the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in the following areas:
- economic and social cohesion,
- trans-European networks,
- education and culture,
- social policy,
- the environment,
- vocational training,
- civil protection,
- climate change,
Three fundamental principles: subsidiarity, proximity and partnership
- decisions in the EU must be taken as close as possible to the citizen,
- the EU level must not take any action which could be carried out more efficiently by the national, regional or local authorities,
- the Committee of the Regions has the right to bring an action before the Court of Justice of the European Union if this principle is breached (this right is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty).
- all levels of governance must be "close to the citizen",
- transparency in the work of national, regional and local authorities is essential to ensure citizen participation in the democratic process.
- the four levels of governance - EU, national, regional and local - cooperate closely to ensure good European governance,
- these four levels of governance are indispensable and must be involved throughout the decision‑making process.