President Lambertz recalls his appeal to launch permanent and structured
dialogue with citizens
On the International Day of Democracy, the President of the European
Committee of the Regions'(CoR) President Karl-Heinz Lambertz has
recalled his appeal to launch a new permanent dialogue with citizens
together with its regions and cities, and reinstated the urgency to
strengthen the role of local and regional governments in the EU
decision-making process. Contributing to the European Commission's
commitment to strengthening European democracy, the CoR also published
a collection of insights from local and regional governments,
practitioners and academics on how best to engage citizens in the EU.
In recent years, governments and parliaments at all levels have
increasingly involved citizens in the decision-making process to
improve the quality, transparency and ownership of policies. EU member
states, EU institutions as well as cities and regions, have held
thousands of citizens’ dialogues and consultations on the future of
"Citizens' dialogues must not be a knee-jerk response to populism, a
mere campaigning toll in the build up to elections, or a simple
listening exercise. Citizens should be able to continuously shape the
EU. Citizens' dialogues need to become permanent part of the EU's
architecture, complementing other existing channels of engagement and
participation, with citizens' views directly influencing EU decisions.
To increase credibility, transparency and engagement, this must be done
in partnership with regions and cities", said CoR President Karl-Heinz Lambertz.
"From local to European: Putting citizens at the centre of the EU
agenda": CoR book published
How best to engage citizens within the EU has been the focus of a
series of debates organised by the CoR between April and June 2019,
with contribution coming from experts from regional and local
governments, think-tanks and EU institutions. The insights and best
practices were collated in a book "
From local to European: Putting citizens at the centre of the
" which will be published on 15 September.
The publication comes shortly after the European Commission
President-elect, Ursula von Leyen, announced a "push for European
democracy" and proposed a 'Conference on the Future of Europe' to start
in 2020 and run for two years. The conference, to be led by a new
European Commission Vice-President for Democracy, aims to bring
citizens together, to give a significant role for young people, civil
society and European institutions as equal partners and to follow-up
with 'legislative action if appropriate'.
added. "The Conference is a positive step and the CoR will contribute
to making it a success. Regions and cities are a fundamental part of
European democracy and citizens engagement must also coincide with
ensuring EU decisions are taken as close to citizens as possible. We
therefore look forward to working with the incoming European Commission
to implement the conclusions of the
Subsidiarity Task Force
that will give regions and cities a greater say on EU policy and
subsequently, improve its impact on daily life"
President Lambertz' region launches citizens' initiative
The comments come a few days before President Lambertz's own region, the
German-speaking Community of Belgium where he is also President of
Parliament, launches its own citizens' initiative (
). The Citizens' Council will come together for the first time on 16
September 2019, which will be responsible for organising the first
Citizens' Assembly in early 2020.
Between 2016-2018 members of the European Committee of the Regions held
debates in their constituencies on the future of Europe. During this
period the CoR organised over 210 local events, involving 23000
citizens' in local dialogues and collected over 23000 replies to a
dedicated online survey, of which the
Opinion on the future of Europe
adopted on 9 October 2018 were submitted to the European Council.
Currently, the CoR is preparing an opinion on the future of citizens’
dialogues and consultations which is expected to be adopted in May
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