Opinion Factsheet  

Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2013-2014

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Opinion Number: CDR 6834/2013
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 02/04/2014
 
Facilitate the task of the local and regional authorities in the enlargement countries to prepare for their future responsibilities in the European Union, to obtain recognition of their role and to establish and develop contacts and cooperation with their EU counterparts.
Promote the advantages of political dialogue and economic and cultural cooperation between local and regional authorities of candidate and potential candidate countries and those of the EU.
Call on the European Commission to take into account the state of local and regional self-government in candidate and potential candidate countries as a key element of assessing the progress of decentralisation and a prerequisite for a well-functioning system of multi-level governance
Reiterate the importance of citizen support for the enlargement process and highlight the role of local and regional authorities in mobilising citizens for this debate and in providing two-way communications between the Member States and the EU institutions as well as the citizens.
Expresses CoR's wish to continue cooperating with the European Commission on the Local Administration Facility (LAF) programme, which is organised for local and regional authorities from the Western Balkans countries and Turkey and which seeks to increase their understanding about what the EU stands for, primarily at regional and local level.
The CoR opinion was widely discussed with the LRAs from the enlargement countries in the framework of the Working Groups and Joint Consultative Committees and has generated important feedback from the European Commission.

The European Commission formally underlined its support for the development of functioning local and regional administrations in the candidate and potential candidate countries. The Commission pointed out that although there is no chapter on decentralisation, given the absence of specific acquis in this area, local/regional self-government is addressed in the Commission's annual Progress Reports as part of the political criteria in view of the need for stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy. The situation of the decentralisation process and local governance is also addressed in individual chapters insofar as it is relevant for implementation of the acquis in certain areas.

Furthermore the Commission reminded its support for decentralisation and local self-government institutions through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) projects. Technical assistance is also provided under the Local Administration Facility (LAF) in the area of rule of law/governance and alignment with the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Commission welcomed the good cooperation with the CoR through the Local Administration Facility. In 2014 the TAIEX office organised 17 seminars together with the CoR for the benefit of more than 650 representatives of LRAs from the enlargement countries. The topics focussed on EU policies with impact at sub-national level: public procurement procedures, fiscal decentralisation, Roma inclusion, fight against corruption, entrepreneurship and SME policy, good governance, cultural heritage & tourism, etc.

Following the CoR's appeal to mobilize local and regional authorities, as well as civil society in order to better communicate the benefits of the enlargement policy, the European Commission reiterated its commitment to providing information about the enlargement process, the countries involved and its implications for the EU, contributing to an informed public debate on enlargement.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- reiterates its call on the European Commission to take into account the state of local and regional self-government in candidate and potential candidate countries as a key element of assessing the progress of decentralisation and a prerequisite for a well-functioning system of multi-level governance;



- strongly welcomes the two enlargement approaches recently introduced: 1) the approach adopted by the Council in 2011 whereby the chapters on judiciary and fundamental rights, on justice and on freedom and security are tackled early on in the accession negotiations, thus ensuring well-functioning juridical systems and the effective fight against organised crime and corruption are key conditions for accession and 2) the approach adopted by the Council in 2013 of tackling economic fundamentals and meeting the economic criteria first, as a key for economic development, and for creating a favourable business and investment climate;



- reiterating the importance of effective local and regional tiers of governance, draws attention to the recommendations on strengthening local self-government in pre-accession countries and making public administration reform a greater priority;



- reiterates the importance of citizen support for the enlargement process and highlights the role of local and regional authorities in mobilising citizens for this debate and in providing two-way communications between the Member States and the EU institutions as well as the citizens;



- expresses its wish to continue cooperating with the European Commission on the Local Administration Facility (LAF) programme, which is organised for local and regional authorities from the Western Balkans countries and Turkey and which seeks to increase their understanding about what the EU stands for, primarily at regional and local level. The Committee suggests extending the availability of LAF to include all Eastern Partnership countries interested.

Importance

High
Medium
Low
 

Rapporteur's activities

Meeting of Mr Abramavičius and Mr Kissiov (CIVEX vice-chair) with Mr Christian Danielsson, Director General of the Directorate General for Enlargement

 
25 Jun
 

Rapporteur's activities

The rapporteur participates in the meeting of the Working Group with Turkey

 
23 Jun
 

Council

General Affairs Council decides to grant EU candidate status to Albania

 
23 Jun
 

Rapporteur's activities

The rapporteur participates in the meeting of the Consultative Committee with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

 
02 Jun
 

Rapporteur's activities

The rapporteur participates in the meeting of the Working Group on the Western Balkans

 
27 May
 

CoR Plenary Session

The opinion CIVEX-V-046 is adopted during the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions

 
01 Apr
 

CoR Commission activity

The CIVEX commission adopts the draft opinion

 
09 Feb
 

Council

General Affairs Council discusses the EU enlargement and stabilisation and association process and adopts the general EU position on accession negotiations with Serbia

 
16 Dec
 

Rapporteur's activities

The rapporteur participates in the meeting of the Consultative Committee with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

 
02 Dec
 

Rapporteur's activities

The rapporteur participates in the meeting of the Working Group with Turkey

 
20 Nov
 

Rapporteur's activities

The rapporteur participates in the meeting of the Working Group on the Western Balkans

 
13 Nov
 

European Commission

The European Commission has adopted the Enlargement package COM(2013) 700 final

 
15 Oct
 

CoR Commission activity

 
 

The CIVEX commission appoints Mr Arnoldas Abramavičius (LT/EPP) as Rapporteur for the opinion "Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2013-14"

 
23 Sep
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