EU's "new way of working" through broad and long-term engagement with citizens: what's next?  

On the occasion of the European Summit of Regions and Cities organised in Bucharest on 14-15 March, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), and Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), repeated their call for the EU institutions to work together to establish an "EU permanent structured consultation mechanism" with citizens, cities, regions and civil society during the next mandate (2019-2024).

In recent years, institutions at EU, national and local level have all tried to involve citizens to improve quality, transparency and acceptance of EU policy-making. Today, the Presidents of the EU's two advisory bodies, Luca Jahier, from the European Economic and Social Committee, and Karl-Heinz Lambertz, from the European Committee of the Regions, repeated their call to the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council to establish a joint permanent mechanism for "European Citizens' Consultations".

"More than ever, the European Union needs a renaissance of its core beliefs and values. This includes the way in which the EU institutions address citizens' concerns and involve them more directly in decision-making. Civil society organisations can play a crucial role here and stand ready to start a new dialogue with citizens", said Luca Jahier.

"Democracy starts in our regions and cities. They are elected closest to the people and engage with citizens on a daily basis. I call upon the local leaders in all EU member states to make a more concerted effort to engage once a year in a truly European debate. Such a debate should be focused on themes which matter most and channelled back to the EU level including a call for action. Listening is not enough if we want Europe to become more democratic", said Karl-Heinz Lambertz.

Both Presidents spoke on 15 March at the European Summit of Regions and Cities in Bucharest, an event co-organised by the CoR and the Romanian EU Presidency, bringing together over 700 mayors and elected representatives from regional governments and parliaments. Since 2015, the CoR organised over 200 citizens' dialogues involving 40,000 citizens in 27 member states. The EESC has engaged with civil society in 27 national consultations, in which more than 1,000 representatives of civil society organisations took part.

Background

On 13-14 December 2018, the European Council discussed the results of 1,700 citizens' consultations and dialogues held by national governments on “the future of Europe". President Jahier and President Lambertz were first to react, suggesting a “permanent mechanism for structured consultations and dialogues with citizens" to be established. Such a mechansim would involve regional parliaments and assemblies, local authorities, and civil society organisations with the objective to impact on the EU policy cycle on a regular basis. The project is currently being discussed between the EU institutions with the aim to launch it at the end of next year.

More information:

Contact:
Nathalie Vandelle
Tel. +32 (0)2 282 24 99
nathalie.vandelle@cor.europa.eu