Local intercultural dialogue is key to address citizen's security in Europe

At a conference organised today by the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), with the support of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), the CoR President, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, highlighted the importance of encouraging citizen's participation in local debates on urban security. The event is part of Efus' initiative “Sharing the Manifesto on Security, Democracy and Cities” which, based on inter-city cooperation, aims at promoting dialogue between local European authorities, civil society and the private sector in urban safety and security issues.

Speaking at the event, President Ramón Luis Valcárcel stressed: "I truly believe that the initiatives such as "Sharing the Manifesto" are truly in line with the principles of the European Year of Citizens. We must be aware that public confidence in the European Union is still very low and only initiatives aiming to encourage citizen participation in local debates can change this situation."

Mr Valcárcel underlined the CoR contribution to the EU Action Plan in the field of justice and home affairs for 2010-2014 (Stockholm programme), referring to the CoR opinion on "Challenges and opportunities in view of a new multi-annual programme on the EU area of freedom, security and justice", which insists on the importance of prevention and stresses the role of local and regional authorities in this regard. "Prevention is just as important as prosecution. Security must be considered by all levels of government as a citizen's issue", emphasised the CoR President.

He furthermore pointed to the CoR position on the action plan implementing the Stockholm programme, which puts the emphasis on multi-level governance and underlines the contribution of cities and regions in creating a "real foundation of trust" for the implementation of the Stockholm programme. In this regard, Valcárcel stressed "the importance of the intercultural dialogue deployed at the local and regional levels to better understand the society's needs in terms of security".

Mr Valcárcel also referred to the CoR's contribution to the Radicalisation Awareness network, launched by the European Commission in September 2011, to counter violent extremism in Europe.

During the working day, three round tables were organised on the following main topics:

  • What is the role of prevention in security policies?
  • For a Europe of local and regional authorities: What does it mean to be part of Europe today? How are citizens actively involved in security debates and policies?
  • What are the security policies for the next few years? What financial support is needed from Europe to meet local needs?

European Forum for Urban Security

Efus is a non-governmental organisation of more than 250 local authorities set up in 1987 in Barcelona under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Working on all major issues relating to urban safety and security, the network aims to strengthen crime reduction policies and promote the role of local authorities in national and European policies. Members include local, regional, and national authorities, NGOs involved in crime prevention and universities.

More info: www.efus.eu