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Local and regional authorities are essential to deliver on the recommendations of the Conference on the Future of Europe  

As European institutions provide feedback on how the recommendations of the Conference will be implemented, local and regional representatives stress that success lie in Europe's regions and cities.

The European Committee of the Regions has listened to citizens' expectations and is actively following up on the proposals of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which cannot be fully implemented without the active involvement of the local and regional level. This is the core message of EU local and regional leaders ahead of the event where the three EU institutions leading the Conference will present to the citizens how they have been following up on their proposals. The European Committee of the Regions also highlights its achievements at local and regional levels and across policy fields in its latest report. In a declaration, the delegation of the European Committee of the Regions and of European associations of local and regional authorities stress the need for the further involvement of regions and cities in this new chapter for European democracy. ​

Eight months after the adoption of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe (COFE), the European Committee of the Regions is joining the other EU institutions and the citizens who took part on the COFE to report about how they are implementing their proposals. While it is essential that the EU institutions deliver on the citizens' expectations, local and regional authorities are ready to implement many proposals on the ground, on issues such as the green deal, cross-border health care, cohesion and democratic citizens' participation. EU local and regional leaders further stress that, in view of the European elections in spring 2024, it is crucial that citizens feel ownership of the European project, despite the very difficult context of war in Ukraine and the decline in their purchasing power.

Vasco Alves Cordeiro (PT/PES), President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: “The Conference on the Future of Europe opens a new chapter for European democracy. From day one and for the long term, regions and cities can make the difference. We need their full involvement in any new proposals implementing the conclusions of the Conference and in any initiative that follows. We need to bring citizens' panels to all our regions and cities, and we must ensure that any reform of the EU's functioning will contribute to an enhanced role for our assembly. In view of the next European elections in 2024, European citizens will always find an ally in the European Committee of the Regions to build a stronger and fairer Europe. "

Apostolos Tzitzikostas (EL/EPP), First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions, added: " We welcome the decision to systematically schedule citizens' panels as a tool for participatory democracy: we call on the European Commission to organise once a year a number of citizens' panels in city halls or regional parliaments, in order to encourage a dialogue on European matters having territorial impact, and we stand ready to offer the support of the CoR to that end. "

As the level of government that is the closest to citizens, the local and regional authorities must be fully associated to any initiative linked to the citizens' panels, now foreseen to discuss EU legislation; such panels should take place in every region and city across Europe, with the full involvement of local and regional elected representatives. Local and regional leaders are ready to put their expertise in participative democracy at disposal. The European Committee of the Regions reiterates that any institutional reform should entail an enhanced role in the legislative process for the Committee as the European assembly of directly elected local and regional representatives.

The Declaration and the Report also point out that many COFE recommendations put forward by the citizens are already being implemented by EU cities and regions, such as recommendations to develop programmes for greener cities and regions, reduce energy consumption, support cross-border access to health, reduce the digital divide in rural areas, and strengthen democracy through a network of EU councillors​.

Background:

- A delegation of 18 CoR members and 12 other representatives of local and regional authorities took active part in the discussions during the Conference on the Future of Europe. A summary of their input can be found in the CoR report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Conference on the Future of Europe by local and regional authorities.

- CoR resolution on The outcome and follow up of the Conference on the Future of Europe , with reactions and proposals, including on Treaty revision and COFE proposals relevant for the CoR and for cities and regions.


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