EP report of December 2011 is in line with the recommendations of the opinion regarding the following main objectives:
common goal of building deep democracy in the European Neighbourhood
continue the assistance for Belarus
respect for human and citizen`s rights, functioning of democracy and rule of law
the importance of further fostering cooperation in the Black Sea region and the importance of the EU Black Sea Strategy
involvement of the EU in the Sothern Mediterranean region against the background of the Arab Spring
future development of euro regions
increase the use and the amount of financial instrument ENPI
The ENP package presented by the European Commission on 15 May 2012 gives due importance to the territorial dimension of neighbourhood policy that the opinion (and other recent opinions of the CoR on neighbourhood policy) seeks to install: "Local and regional authorities have a key role to play in narrowing the gap between the population and institutions, promoting the culture of political participation at local level and ensuring that policy decision take local needs into account" and noting that the Committee of regions has increased its involvements in the ENP in particular through the ARLEM and CORLEAP assemblies . In fact the European Parliament too has recognised this particular role of regional and local authorities in delivering the ENP and has called on the EEAS and the Commission to support amongst others, local and regional authorities in their efforts to play their proper role in defining ENP strategies, holding governments to account, monitoring and assessing past performance and achieved results .
The Commission's suggestion that effective regional partnerships can be built in spheres such as SME development, the environment, education, youth opportunities, culture, transport, research, rural development and employment is also in line with the CoR positions. Local and regional authorities in the EU have a great deal of experience and practical expertise in these areas and would welcome involvement in partnerships.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- considers that greater involvement of local and regional authorities in neighbourhood policy can boost public awareness of, participation in, and support for the aims of, the policy, and counteract the impression that it is exclusively the national governments and the Brussels institutions which are responsible for governing our continent, in this sense, local and regional authorities can also help to overcome dangerous tendencies of isolationism or renationalisation which may otherwise jeopardise the stability of countries and regions both inside and outside the EU;
- attaches great importance to the work done and opportunities offered by the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) which allows for the participation of regional and local authorities in the Euro-Mediterranean political debate, and gives the territorial dimension of projects selected by the Secretariat-General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). It also ensures the exchange of best practices and contributes to achieving the goals of the ENP;
- equally supports the Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) as the network of multilateral cooperation between regional and local authorities from the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries which aims to further engage these authorities in the delivery of the ENP. It also intends to work with the local and regional authorities from Eastern partners to establish a permanent institutional framework of cooperation;
- recommends the intensification of neighbourhood policy in the whole Black Sea area. The continuing geopolitical importance of this region for the EU should be emphasised, as should the importance of the Black Sea Synergy. EU countries bordering on this area should receive meaningful EU support for their neighbourhood policy activities.