Roberto Pella (IT/EPP), rapporteur for the Committee of the Regions' opinion on the EU Citizenship Report 2010, and representatives from the Commission's DG Justice met yesterday with the European associations of cities and regions and the Regional offices in Brussels to discuss how to promote and enforce EU citizens' rights at local and regional level.
In May 2012, the European Commission launched a public online consultation on EU citizenship to ask citizens and organisations about obstacles they encounter in their daily lives when using their EU rights, and gather suggestions on how to remove them. The CoR has also launched a study to identify challenges and best practices at local and regional level when it comes to enforcing free movement and electoral rights of EU citizens. Both initiatives will feed into the 2013 EU Citizenship Report, which will be one of the main deliverables of the European Year 2013 which the Commission has proposed to be the European Year of the Citizens.
Under the heading "Local and regional authorities working to foster EU citizenship on the road to the European Year of Citizens 2013", the meeting was organised as a follow-up to the commitments made in the CoR opinion on the EU Citizenship Report 2010 and in order to raise local and regional authorities' awareness for and to maximise their input to the public consultation and to the study.
The rapporteur of the opinion, Roberto Pella, underlined the importance of local and regional authorities in making EU citizenship a reality. He outlined the activities that the CoR is currently working on in the context of the European Year 2013. The CoR will organise a pre-launch and mobilising event for the European Year event in Brussels on 28 November in cooperation with the European Commission. High level speakers will discuss good examples of local and regional authorities in promoting EU citizenship and citizens' rights, and further inform about the European Year. The event will also serve to present the results of both the consultation and study.
Also addressing the audience, Zeta Georgiadou, responsible for Union citizenship and free movement in DG Justice, insisted on the need to translate EU citizenship in concrete benefits for citizens and stressed that "The ultimate goal of the European Commission's policy as regards EU Citizenship is that EU citizens feel at home wherever they are in the EU, and also feel European at home. It is important for us that the CoR and the local and regional authorities be associated at an early stage of this reflection".
The European Commission provided an outline of the ongoing public consultation on EU citizenship and called on the participants to act as a multiplier so that it achieves the broadest possible audience in the EU.