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European Summit of regions and cities: what to look out for on day 2  

​​​​​​​ The European Summit of regions and cities continues on 4 March with another packed programme of high-level speakers and wide-ranging discussions on the key topics of democracy, inclusion, education and youth. French President Emmanuel Macron is the key speaker of the day, taking part in the plenary session debate on Building the House of European Democracy alongside CoR President Apostolos Tzitzikostas.

The day kicks off with three round table discussions taking place in parallel, focusing on the question of democracy.

At the first roundtable, The building blocks of European democracy, former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will join the discussion by video link to share the findings of the CoR's High Level Group on European Democracy. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission and Guy Verhofstadt MEP, Co-chair of the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe, will also take part alongside a number of CoR members. The discussion will focus on the state of play of the Conference on the Future of Europe, due to come to end in May, and in whether it will succeed in giving European citizens a much stronger voice in the EU decision-making process. The role of local and regional authorities in the helping to promote European democratic values will also be discussed.

The second roundtable, New ways of representative and participatory democracy in the 21st century, will also look at the Conference on the Future of Europe but with a particular focus on how to involve citizens and their representatives more effectively in the wider democratic process. The CoR has been running a number of citizens' panels across the EU in association with the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the foundation's President Ralph Heck will lead the discussion on how to build on the best practices already in place at local and regional level in terms of participatory democracy. Other key speakers include Antonio Tajani MEP, Chair of the Committee for Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) of the European Parliament, and Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam.

Just ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March, the third roundtable discussion, Democracy in action: Women in local politics will focus more specifically on the role of women in politics. Women remain underrepresented at all levels of government and gender-balanced politics remains as elusive as ever in most European countries. The high-level discussion with some of the EU's most important female decision-makers will focus on the main barriers to women in political life, and possible solutions, in particular at the local and regional level. The discussion will be led by Sandra Ceciarini, an expert in EU policy and gender participation and former director at the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), and will feature among others Élisabeth Moreno, French Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, Magali Altounian, Vice-President of France's Region-Sud, Eva Maydell MEP and Gillian Coughlan, Mayor of the County of Cork, Ireland.

Following the roundtable discussions, the third plenary session of the 2022 Summit will continue with the theme of democracy, with French President Emmanuel Macron leading the debate. The discussion on Building the House of European Democracy will also feature interventions from Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions, Renaud Muselier, President of Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions, Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography and Roberta Metsola​, President of the European Parliament. The plenary session will end with the adoption of the Manifesto of regional and local authorities for European democracy, encapsulating the key outcomes of the summit. 

The afternoon's discussions will continue with the wider issue of participation and inclusion in European democracy with a particular focus on youth and education. Two parallel roundtables will focus on Democracy, education and culture in the digital age and Youth participation in the revival of democracy and the promotion of European values.

The first roundtable will be led by Dr Jonnie Penn, Harvard and Cambridge academic and a former Google Fellow, and will feature a video intervention from Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education & Youth. Political speakers include Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor of Gdansk and Hedi Ramdane, Deputy Mayor of the Summit's host city, Marseille, while Capucine Tuffier, Policy Manager for Meta Public, will bring the perspective from the world of social media. Discussion will centre on how digital platforms can support young people's participation in democratic life, especially at local level, and whether digitalisation is improving inclusion and helping to increase the participation of young people in local and regional politics.

The second roundtable also focuses on the issue of the participation of young people in democracy. Key issues to be discussed will be how to enhance the participation of young people at the local and regional level, which is often a starting point for more general political and civic activism. And will encouraging more young people to take part lead to new forms of participatory democracy at local and regional level and beyond? The CoR runs a programme for Young Elected Politicians (YEPs) to encourage and support the involvement of young people in political and democratic life, and the discussion will feature a number of YEPs as well as key interventions from Evelyn Regner, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Jean Rottner, President of France's Grand-Est Region.

The final plenary session of the Summit will link the two themes of the day with a focus on The Future of European Democracy: Youth engagement and European values. Feedback from the youth roundtables will be discussed with Silja Markkula, President of the European Youth Forum, before the Summit is brought to an end by co-hosts Apostolos T​zitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions​​ and ​Renaud Muselier, President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.



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