The European Committee of
the Regions (CoR) and local and regional government associations from across
the European Union committed themselves on 4 July to working together towards a
more sustainable, inclusive and innovative Europe. At the invitation of the
CoR, and in cooperation with the Council of European Municipalities and Regions
(CEMR), leaders of EU towns, cities and regions gathered in Brussels to debate
the main challenges confronting them in the context of the ongoing political reflection
on the Future of Europe.
As the EU's political assembly representing cities and regions, the CoR, in cooperation with the CEMR, invited the presidents of national associations of local and regional authorities to discuss the Future of Europe from a local and regional perspective. The plenary debate was preceded by an event with local and regional government associations and CoR members, with roundtables focused on developing an inclusive, sustainable and innovative European Union.
Introducing the event, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the CoR, said: "If Europe is to reconnect with its citizens and demonstrate its added value, it needs to be built from the ground up, together with all its regions, cities, towns and villages. This is why our Committee is committed to strengthening its cooperation with all of Europe's associations, to ensure that every local and regional government is given a voice in Brussels within the European Union. Together, we need to shape Europe's future by reaffirming our shared EU values, strengthening its democratic foundations and improving the quality and effectiveness of the EU's policies."
Referring to a report on the role of cities in the EU institutional framework adopted yesterday by the European Parliament, Stefano Bonaccini, President of the CEMR and President of the Emilia-Romagna region, stressed that "For the CEMR, there is no alternative to the governance-in-partnership model, ensuring that all local and regional governments and their representative organisation are instrumental in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and legislation. Yesterday, we saw the adoption of the European Parliament's resolution in plenary, which includes the request for CEMR to be permanently involved in the design of EU policy-making, by way of a structured dialogue, where local and regional interests are concerned. This marks a noteworthy step in the role of national associations in the institutional framework of the Union."
Notes to editors:
Today's event was part of the 'Reflecting on Europe' process launched in 2016 which will contribute to a report on the Future of Europe that the CoR will adopt at its 8-10 October plenary, at the request of Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. On 9 October, the CoR President will also deliver his yearly "State of the EU Regions" address before the CoR plenary with the aim of taking stock of the current situation of EU's cities and regions and look ahead to the main challenges for the following year. Taken together, the CoR's activities should enrich the deliberations of EU decision-makers and the European Parliament elections in 2019 setting out the perspective of local and regional politicians.
The CoR, the CEMR, and other European and national associations have over the past year worked together primarily by forging and leading the #CohesionAlliance, a coalition of those who believe that EU cohesion policy must continue to be a pillar of the EU's future. The Alliance is demanding that the EU budget after 2020 makes cohesion policy stronger, more effective, visible and available for every region in the European Union. Currently worth one-third of the EU budget, the EU's cohesion policy reduces regional disparities, creates jobs, opens new business opportunities and addresses major global issues such as climate change and migration.
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