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Citizens' Dialogue in Innsbruck: rebuild trust in the EU by going local  

The Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Karl-Heinz Lambertz, participated yesterday in a citizens' dialogue entitled "Europe is our future. It's up to all of us!" ("Europa ist unsere Zukunft. Es liegt an uns allen!") in Innsbruck, organised by the President of the Tyrol Regional Parliament, Herwig van Staa. As part of the ongoing political reflection on the future of Europe, the CoR launched a bottom-up consultation process "Reflecting on Europe" last year. Through citizens' dialogues and town hall debates, citizens have the opportunity to share their concerns and expectations on the past-present and future of Europe.

The event is the second of a series of "citizens' dialogues" organised in Austria within the " Reflecting on Europe " campaign. CoR Vice-President Karl-Heinz Lambertz (BE/PES) and CoR members Herwig van Staa (AUT/EPP) and Hanspeter Wagner (AUT/EPP) engaged with representatives of "Pulse of Europe Innsbruck" and 100 pupils of the region of Tyrol on the future of Europe. They held an open discussion on the key challenges facing the EU, such as growth and employment, social development, the rise of populism and EU's security.

"It is very encouraging to see so many young people gathering together today to come up with new ideas for the future. The youth is the main driver of change for the European Union and we need them to bring in fresh ideas and perspectives for a more united and promising Europe." said Karl-Heinz Lambertz. "The European policies and institutions must be at the service of the citizens to achieve the EU's goals and foster its values. Discussions on how to rebuild trust in the Union with the help of regions and cities must therefore be a real dialogue, where we do not only listen but converse with our citizens. We must first listen and discuss, then elaborate together concrete actions .", he added.

Citizen's concerns and expectations are collected at grassroots level and taken into account during city council debates and regional parliamentary sessions, with the aim of reporting them back to the European institutions. This bottom-up consultation follows up from a request by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to the CoR to send its recommendations on the future of Europe through the voice of cities and regions. " There is a loss of trust towards the European institutions. That is why the gap between what people expect and what Europe is able to deliver needs to be filled. The outcomes of these citizens' dialogues will be concrete political recommendations to the Council and the other institutions, in order to fully address the main concerns of our citizens and the challenges faced by regions and cities" said Karl-Heinz Lambertz.

Ahead of the annual celebration of Europe's Day (9 May), six other citizens' dialogues have been organised these past two days in Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain. Three debates on the future of the EU were held in Spain by Irujo Amezaga Mikel (ES/EA) and Barkos Berruezo Uxue (ES/NI) in Pamplona, by Jesús Gamallo Aller (ES/ EPP) in Santiago de Compostela and by Juan José Sota Verdión (ES/ PES) in Santander. Marco Dus (IT/PES) also organised a debate in the Italian city of Vittorio Veneto and two more were held in Austria by Hanspeter Wagner (AUT/EPP) in Breitenwang and by Petr Osvald (CZ/PES) in Vienna.


Diandra Vanigioli
Tel. +32 2 282 22 99

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