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Communication conjointe sur un partenariat renouvelé avec le voisinage méridional

Opinion Number: CDR 1952/2021
Rapporteur: BIANCO Vincenzo
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 01/07/2021
The CoR's work with the EU Southern neighbours is mainly carried out through the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM). In its Recommendations for 2021 adopted on 22 February 2021 at its 12th plenary, ARLEM addresses the new partnership between the European Union and its southern neighbours, as set out in the Joint Communication, and the need to systematically take local and regional authorities into account in this new partnership. Local authorities are driving local development that is close to the people, reaching far beyond the capitals of our countries.
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) promotes awareness and action at local and regional level on the foundational EU values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, which must be protected and respected even in times of emergency, as during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
As stated by the Resolution on CoR political priorities 2020 - 2025 adopted on 1 July 2020, CoR policy priority no. 1 is about "Bringing Europe closer to people: Democracy and the future of the EU". The idea is that these values should be also at the core of the external relations of the CoR as stated in the resolution (point 18): Support the EU global action by promoting values and principles such as human rights, democracy, rule of law, sustainable development and social inclusiveness, among others, in close cooperation with its Mediterranean and Eastern partners.
The opinion on the new Agenda for the Mediterranean is an important opportunity to take stock of the work already done by the CoR in the several pillars around which the Agenda is built, and to streamline it in its future work, in particular, in the framework of ARLEM. In this regard, it should be noted that the Agenda does not fully acknowledge the role of local and regional authorities in the different policy areas. It is therefore important that the opinion impacts the implementation of the Agenda, marking the importance of involving and recognizing LRAs as essential components of European action also in its external relations.
28 Oct 2021 Participation of rapporteur Enzo Bianco in the 6th European Migration Forum: From pandemic to recovery: challenges and best practices in migration management
04 Oct 2021 Rapporteur Enzo Bianco at the 2nd UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate action
20 Sep 2021 Rapporteur Enzo Bianco presented main findings at MC2CMDays

- 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.



Rapporteur Bianco participated as discussant during the roundtable "A renewed Mediterranean Partnership" during the 9th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Marseille, France

As final discussant, Vincenzo Bianco (ARLEM member and rapporteur on a "Blue economy in the Mediterranean", CoR rapporteur on a Renewed partnership with the Southern neighbourhood) was invited to the stage to give a short introduction of the concrete ARLEM perspective.
Making reference to the New Agenda adopted by the Commission, he mentioned the novelty of there being more awareness how closely linked the future of Europe is to how we approach the Mediterranean question. He divulged that climate change is a central topic of the CoR's opinion on the Renewed Partnership which he drafted. He even asked for more courage, more determination; to a point of approving a Mediterranean Human Rights Charter.

03 Mar

Rapporteur Bianco as panelist during the 8th ARLEM Commission meeting in Marseille, France

Mr Bianco participated as a panelist in the thematic debate on Climate action in the Mediterranean: towards Sharm el-Sheikh, together with Mr Vincent Chauvet (FR/RE), CoR rapporteur for Stepping up Europe's 2030 climate ambition towards COP26 and member of the official CoR delegation to COP26.

07 Feb

Follow up provided by the European Commission to the opinion

The Commission agrees that local authorities can be drivers for integration and contribute to the reduction of inequalities. The Joint Communication reiterates that initiatives to foster socio-economic sustainability at the local level could also contribute to strengthening national systems. In addition to ongoing bilateral programmes working with local authorities, programming for the period 2021-2027 foresees initiatives to deepen local empowerment and increased dialogue with local authorities.

Link to the Follow-up provided by the European Commission

01 Dec

Participation of rapporteur Enzo Bianco in the 6th European Migration Forum: From pandemic to recovery: challenges and best practices in migration management

Rapporteur Enzo Bianco presented the findings from his report on the Joint Communication on a renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood at the 6th European Migration Forum: From pandemic to recovery: challenges and best practices in migration management.

28 Oct

Rapporteur Enzo Bianco at the 2nd UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate action

Rapporteur Enzo Bianco spoke in support of the adoption of the 2nd Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Climate action, and presented some key points from his report.

04 Oct

Rapporteur Enzo Bianco presented main findings at MC2CMDays

The rapporteur, Enzo Bianco, presented the main findings of his opinion on the field of migration at the opening of the #MC2CMDays, an event organized by the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration (MC2CM) project, on 20 September.

20 Sep

EESC Opinion on Joint Communication adopted

On 7 July 2021, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted its opinion on the Joint Communication.

07 Jul
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