More involvement needed by regional parliaments to strengthen democratic legitimacy

​President Michel Lebrun

​Today during the conference, "Strengthening the role of regional parliaments in EU affairs", the Committee of the Regions' (CoR) President Michel Lebrun (BE/EPP) called for "a greater involvement of local and regional authorities in strengthening democratic legitimacy and accountability in EU economic governance". President Lebrun invited regional policy actors to join forces with the CoR and bring together regional expertise to help better influence the European decision-making process.

The conference, organised by the Committee of the Regions and Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen with the support of State Ministry of Baden-Wuerttemberg, aimed to raise awareness of the role of and challenges facing regional parliaments in light of recent reforms and increasing euroscepticism.

Challenges from economic governance, democratic legitimacy, subsidiarity and multilevel governance all pose challenges on an EU and regional level. President Lebrun stressed the importance of regional expertise and having a common understanding among all involved in regional policy to help face these challenges. He called upon regional parliaments to work with the CoR to enrich discussions to ultimately ensure that the decisions taken at European level are taken in full knowledge of their territorial consequences. In light of this he urged all cities and regions to sign the Multilevel governance charter who have not yet done so.

As part of the conference, a series of Working Groups brought practitioners from regional parliaments together with policy-makers and other regional affairs experts at a European level. Discussions focused on several key topics:
- Legal provisions, existing instruments and best practices;
- The participation of regional parliaments in the Early Warning System, REGPEX and in the CoR’s Subsidiarity Monitoring Network;
- Developing communication through inter-parliamentary relations and with EU institutions;
- The role of regional parliaments in EU economic governance;
- The future of European integration the challenges this poses for regional assemblies.

Note to editors

The Lisbon Treaty recognises regional parliaments with legislative powers within the framework of the new system of subsidiarity monitoring. This affects a total of 74 regional parliaments from eight EU Member States. Many of these have undertaken reforms to adapt to the new opportunities for becoming a more active player in the EU multi-level system. Adapting to the so-called Early Warning Mechanism is certainly at the heart of these reforms. The Committee of the Regions supports regional parliaments in various ways, above all by establishing a Subsidiarity Monitoring Network and by setting up the database REGPEX helping regional parliaments in exercising their new rights and improving regional inter-parliamentary cooperation.