Dialogue between the European Commission and the Associations of Local and Regional Authorities
The idea for the Structured Dialogue was initiated in the wake of the Commission's 2001 White Paper on European Governance, which identified a need for the European Union's institutions to cooperate more intensively with representatives of Europe's regions and cities.
In line with this commitment, on 19 December 2003, the European Commission adopted a communication on dialogue with associations of regional and local authorities on the formulation of European Union policy (COM(2003) 811 final) that defines its permanent nature and the involvement of the Committee of the Regions.
The Structured Dialogue is a new form of contact, beyond and in addition to the existing methods of public and institutional consultation launched by the Union institutions in the pre-legislative phase. This Structured Dialogue, hosted by the Committee of the Regions, is an opportunity for the European Commission to consult associations of Local and Regional Authorities on both general and specific issues.
The Committee of the Regions sees the Structured Dialogue as one of the elements of continuous dialogue which it has established with associations of local and regional authorities in order to ensure, as part of its advisory role that the diversity of the Union's territorial dimension is taken into account.
Differentiating it from other consultation processes and in the interest of ensuring proper representation and legitimate participation, the Structured Dialogue is necessarily political.
Aim of the Structured Dialogue 
  • to improve EU legislation by ensuring that the views of local and regional associations are taken on board before formal decision-making processes start;
  • to ensure a better understanding of the EU’s policy guidelines and to make the EU more transparent and meaningful to its citizens;
  • to strengthen policy coordination between the Commission and local and regional authorities.


Different types of Structured Dialogue  


  • a general dialogue with the President of the European Commission, concentrating on issues of broad interest such as the annual work programme of the Commission;
  • a thematic dialogue with the appropriate Commissioner, focused on a specific EU policy area, e.g. communication policy, maritime policy, education policy.