Opinion Factsheet 

Erasmus for Local and Regional Representatives

Opinion Number: CDR 1298/2017
Rapporteur: DECOSTER François
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 31/01/2018
to support a follow-up on the pilot initiative of an “Erasmus programme for local and regional elected representatives” and cooperate to this end with the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission on its conceptual and operational development;
to underline that the mobility aspect and the learning and capacity-building dimensions reinforce each other;
to allow the exchange of good practice in key European policy areas.
While the European Commission assesses that the training of local and regional elected representatives on European policies as positive in principle, it believes that administrations implementing EU funding programmes should have a priority for support and training. The responsibility for training of local and regional elected representatives lies in its view with the national authorities.

Cooperation in view of an Erasmus –type project for local and regional representatives was explored by the CoR with ESPON and URBACT representatives in March 2018.

ESPON offered the support of its researchers network to contribute to an eventual Erasmus for LRAs (expertise/content for training modules) and voiced their support for such an initiative in their meetings with DG REGIO and DG EAC.

A reference to the initative was mentioned in the report of the Task Force on Subsidiarity.

- points out that European institutions are still considered to be remote or technocratic and that European citizens do not always see the benefits of key European decisions in their daily lives;

- considers the local and regional authorities to be an essential link between Europe and its people; developing their knowledge and skills in the field of European policy, and building contacts with elected representatives in other countries, are key elements in developing human capital and meeting European integration objectives;

- takes the view that part of the responsibility for training local and regional elected representatives to provide them with a better knowledge of the spirit of European integration, as well as European policies, lies with the European institutions and that European bodies cannot ignore this call from local and regional elected representatives, particularly in relation to the European elections;

- reiterates its support – outlined in its 2009 White Paper on Multilevel Governance – for the creation of an "Erasmus programme for local and regional elected representatives”, its desire to work with the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission on outlining the conceptual and operational design of the programme, and its support for establishing training programmes and exchanges of good practices targeted at local and regional elected representatives;

- stresses the mobility aspect, which must be retained as the effectiveness of knowledge transfer through peer-learning is well documented by research;

- calls for a working group made up of representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions to be established quickly to develop and prepare this programme.

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