Opinion Factsheet  

Reflecting on Europe: the voice of local and regional authorities to rebuild trust in the European Union

Opinion Number: CDR 1230/2018
Rapporteur: LAMBERTZ Karl-Heinz
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 09/10/2018
The opinion answers to the referral of the President of the European Council Donald Tusk on 8 November 2016, asking the CoR to bring into the debate on the future of Europe the input of local and regional authorities. The referral mentioned the need to "show political leadership in order to rebuild trust in the European project" and wished to receive a real perception of the reality from the European grassroots level.

- Acknowledges the importance of listening to citizens' and local and regional authorities' concerns and meeting their expectations, in terms of an EU project built on more solidarity, cohesion and proximity;

- Signals that despite the fact that over two-thirds of respondents are convinced that their country has benefited from being a member of the EU, there is a widespread frustration with the EU, as the Union is often perceived as too remote and not trustworthy. At the same time, many people still feel that they do not know what the EU is and what it is doing. This is leading to a significant gap between people's expectations and the EU's ability to deliver. There is a lack of perceived benefit in tackling local issues, also partly due to weak communication, as well as misleading narratives and vocabulary used when addressing citizens and poor involvement in the decision-making process;

- Underlines the strong call of local and regional representatives to be fully involved in the definition and implementation of the EU project and for empowering EU action through the proper application of the subsidiarity principle; is reassured by the final report of the Task Force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality which stresses a new understanding of "active subsidiarity";

- Reiterates in this respect that anchoring EU policies locally makes a difference to people's lives;

- Considers it essential to build our union from the bottom up: the way forward for a democratic revival of the EU is possible through a grassroots engagement;

- Insists that facilitating citizens' participation in EU policies and co-creating a permanent dialogue with people beyond 2019 is crucial to for increase increasing the democratic legitimacy of the EU and to for bringing Europe closer to its citizens;

- Stresses the necessity need to ensure room to manoeuvre for cities and regions with a European post 2020 budget that meets ambitions and uses flexibilities to act and invest.



CIVEX study visit in Bologna

Study visit on "Informing and involving European citizens
in the debates on the future of Europe and the European elections: the EDICs of Emilia-Romagna Region", at the invitation of Ms Simonetta Saliera (IT/PES), President of the Emilia-Romagna Region Legislative Assembly. Twelve CIVEX members attended the visit: Nicholas Chiotakis (GR/EPP), Jesús Gamallo Aller (ES/EPP), Dimitris Kalogeropoulos (GR/EPP), Emilian Oprea (RO/EPP), Vincenzo Bianco (IT/PES), Marco Dus (IT/PES), Jaroslav Hlinka (SK/PES), Christophe Rouillon (FR/PES), Doreen Huddart (UK/ALDE), Jerry Lundy (IE/ALDE), Maurice Golden (UK/ECR), Stanisław Szwabski (PL/EA).

17 Oct

"State of the European Union: the View of its Regions and Cities"

On 9 October 2018, the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Karl-Heinz Lambertz, delivered his address on the "State of the European Union: the View of its Regions and Cities". It coincided with the 16th European Week of Regions and Cities and the adoption of the CoR opinion on the future of Europe. Among others, the President addressed the question on how regional and local leaders can help to make the European Union democratically more accountable and regain citizens' trust in its institutions.

09 Oct

The future of Europe and the role of the regions

The conference "The future of Europe and the role of the regions" was co-organised by the CoR, the University of Tübingen, Germany and the Danube University of Krems, Austria. The event allowed CoR members, representatives of regional, national and European parliaments, governments and associations as well as researchers and experts from EU institutions, universities and think tanks, to discuss what role the regions could and should play in the future EU27.

10 Apr