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New EU mandate: local and regional leaders demand stronger say to ensure EU laws focus on citizens’ needs  

The new EU mandate must address strategic, democratic and institutional challenges, including geopolitical instability, digital and green transitions, economic competitiveness. To ensure EU legislation takes better into account the real needs of citizens, members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) have asked for the institution to have a stronger role in the legislative process. In an opinion adopted at the CoR's plenary session on 20 June, they made the case for active subsidiarity, better regulation, and the systematic use of territorial assessments to ensure that EU law and policies bring tangible benefits on the ground.  

The new institutional mandate of the EU will address significant strategic, democratic, and institutional challenges. European democracy faces threats from geopolitical instability and must handle the digital and green transitions while boosting economic competitiveness and resilience. Efficient and transparent decision-making and legislative processes will be crucial.  

As local and regional authorities are responsible for implementing 70% of EU legislation, CoR members have called in the opinion on 'Active subsidiarity: a fundamental principle of the EU better regulation agenda' for a greater involvement in the European legislative process, to improve decision-making and policy implementation. They further stressed that regions and cities are best placed to understand and address specific law-implementation challenges. Therefore, applying multilevel governance and active subsidiarity principles will make EU legislation more effective and citizen-focused. 

In light of the revised cooperation agreements between the CoR and the European Commission and the CoR and the European Parliament, the opinion calls for enhancing inter-institutional collaboration on better regulation. The opinion invites the Commission to work more closely with local and regional authorities and consider the territorial impact of legislation. Furthermore, local and regional leaders encouraged the European Commission to request more 'outlook opinions' from the CoR, to take local and regional point of views in the EU's agenda-setting. Strategic foresight at local and regional levels will also be vital for resilience and governance, and CoR members called for support to integrate territorial foresight analyses into the better regulation agenda. They also called for the systematic use of subsidiarity and proportionality assessments, specific consultation tools for local authorities, more frequent use of territorial impact assessments to prevent regional disparities, and for the continuation of the Fit 4 Future Platform in the new mandate, with a stronger involvement of the CoR REGHUB network

Quote:  

Rapporteur Mark Speich (DE/EPP), State Secretary for Federal, European and International Affairs and Media of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, said: "European democracy must increase economic competitiveness while tackling the challenges of the digital and green transition. Multi-level governance and active subsidiarity will make EU law more responsive to citizens' needs, more evidence-based and more efficient. Bureaucracy would be reduced. What is needed is a systematic assessment of the regional impact of EU law and its consequences for citizens and the local economy, especially for SMEs." 

More information:  

To keep up with the latest 'better regulation' agenda developments, in June 2022 the CoR converted its Subsidiarity Steering Group into a Better Regulation and Active Subsidiarity Steering Group (BRASS-G), aiming to strengthen the CoR's better regulation tools and to enhance their contribution to the EU Better regulation agenda.  

Taking place at a crucial moment against the background of the European Parliament elections and in the setting up of a new European Union institutional cycle, the CoR will organise on 25 October 2024 the 11th Subsidiarity Conference in Warsaw, Poland. The conference will build on the outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe, on the recommendations of the CoR BRASS-G and on the findings of the opinion on active subsidiarity and better regulation, to agree on conclusions paving the way for the future CoR's active subsidiarity and better regulation agendas. 

Revised cooperation agreement between the CoR and the European Commission 

Revised cooperation agreement between the CoR and the European Parliament  

Contact: 

Theresa Sostmann 

Tel. +32 475999415 

Theresa.Sostmann@cor.europa.eu  


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