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Local leaders to Vice-President Šuica: we are ready to join forces to strengthen and modernise democracy in the EU and to contribute to the success of the Conference on the future of Europe  
Local and regional leaders reaffirmed their readiness to develop a Network of Regional and Local EU Councillors to reinforce citizens' engagement via the over one million local and regional leaders across Europe.

Local and regional leaders held today a debate with Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography. The members of the European Committee of the Regions' (CoR) praised the role the Commission is playing in making sure that the voice of regions, cities and villages are represented in an adequate manner within the Conference. They reiterated their call to ensure that the debate on Europe's future reaches citizens through local and regional authorities, responding to their demands.

During his opening speech , Apostolos Tzitsikostas , President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the Greek Region of Central Macedonia, said: “I thank Vice-President Šuica for her hard work as Co-Chair of the Conference on the Future of Europe and for her support to all EU regional and local leaders. With each and every action that she undertakes, she is clearly proving that she is one of our best friend in Brussels. All regional and local delegates will work hard for the success of the Conference to bring Europe closer to its people.”

Dubravka Šuica , the European Commission's Vice-President for Democracy and Demography stated: "Without the involvement and dedication of the Committee of the Regions, the Conference could not fulfil its potential in reaching out to every citizen, from the mountains to the islands. The CoR’s commitment to “Bringing Europe closer to its people” and to reinforcing European democracy at all levels of government, and most importantly from the very roots, is instrumental to making democracy fit for the future.”

Vasco Alves Cordeiro (PT/PES) , First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions and Member of the Azores Regional Parliament, Cordeiro said: “ The issue of dialogue with citizens cannot be just an exercise that ends with Conference on the Future of Europe. This dialogue brings an enlightened and informed exercise of citizenship and must continue after the Conference. The former President of the Committee, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, presented the idea of permanent structured dialogue with citizens. This project, together with the role of the Committee of the Regions and also the possibility of treaty changes, are questions that will need to be answered the day the Conference ends."

Taking part in all formats of the Conference Plenary, the CoR delegation's work is to:

  • provide written contributions with support of the High Level Group on European Democracy , an independent advisory body of seven wise men and women chaired by former European Council President Herman van Rompuy whose mission is to support the CoR's political and institutional role by providing strategic political analysis with focus on local and regional aspects.
  • organise dialogues and debates in their constituency and report back about these dialogues.
  • build alliances of like-minded delegates in the Conference to jointly promote recommendations that are of relevance to regions, cities and villages across the EU.
  • mobilise its networks like the associations of local and regional authorities across the EU, the network of former CoR members and the newly launched network of EU local councillors in order to encourage local and regional politicians to organise citizens' debates The results of these consultations will be reported at the Conference Plenary.

All of the CoR's contributions to the Conference, will feed into a report to be presented at the 9th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Marseille on 3-4 March 2022.

Background:

The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) was launched on 9 May 2021. It is consultation exercise and a unique opportunity for citizens to express their views about the future European Union. The CoR is represented on the Conference's Executive Board by the President, and at the Conference's Plenary by a delegation of 30 representatives. Their objective in the plenary sessions of the Conference is to reach out to the other 420 delegates to strengthen the role of local and regional authorities in the democratic functioning of the European Union and to promote the territorial dimension of EU policies.

Here is an overview of what matters to EU regions and cities on the nine topics of discussion of the Conference.

Contact:

Ella Huber

Tel. +32 2 284 24 18

ella.huber@cor.europa.eu

Marie-Pierre Jouglain

Tel. +32 (0) 473 52 41 15

mariePierre.Jouglain@cor.europa.eu

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