Opinion Factsheet  

Joint Communication on a renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood

Opinion Number: CDR 1952/2021
Rapporteur: BIANCO Vincenzo
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 01/07/2021

- welcomes the Commission's initiative to renew its partnership with the EU's Southern Neighbourhood in the interests of peace, stability and prosperity in the region;

- calls on the EU and its partner countries to make specific and appropriate use of local and regional authorities as drivers for territorial development close to the people;

- notes that the European Committee of the Regions and the local and regional associations active in this context set up the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) in 2010 to give local and regional authorities (LRAs) a voice in the Euro-Mediterranean process;

- stresses the need to strengthen existing instruments to protect human rights, as, although positive, what the EU has actually done in this respect is not yet sufficient. Would welcome, in this connection, that all nationals of non-EU countries who are members of the partnership benefit from an upward convergence of rights and responsibilities in the area of equality and non-discrimination;

- proposes that ad hoc forums for dialogue and multilevel exchange be set up between representatives of local, regional and national authorities and representatives of civil society from European and Southern Neighbourhood countries to promote good governance and involvement in decision-making processes;

- is committed to promoting women's empowerment and gender equality, in terms of rights and opportunities, as an essential resource to promote regional stability and socio-economic development;

- stresses that it is crucial to pursue a balanced approach which takes into account all relevant aspects of migration;

in view of the strengthened geographical approach and in line with the priorities set out in the agenda, urges all the EU institutions to consider local and regional authorities and their associations as key factors for sustainable development and partners in programming.