A new way of working: Task Force puts local and regional governments at heart of EU law-making  

Review calls for simpler, more effective EU policy by strengthening relations between
EU, national, local and regional governments.

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) today welcomed a wide-ranging set of recommendations that would give local and regional authorities a greater say, alongside national authorities, on the preparation, adoption and implementation of EU policies, noting that the ideas would benefit citizens, increase EU efficiency and improve politics.

The CoR said that proposals developed by the Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and Doing Less More Efficiently could lead – as the European Commission's First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans , has argued – to "a new way of working" that would ensure the EU takes better account of the ideas and concerns of all local and regional authorities. Three of the seven members of the Task Force, which was chaired by Vice-President Timmermans, are members of the CoR – namely, CoR President Karl-Heinz Lambertz , Michael Schneider , President of the CoR's EPP Group, and François Decoster of the CoR's ALDE group. The report includes nine key recommendations to improve EU policy-making.

Karl-Heinz Lambertz , the CoR's President, said: "First Vice-President Timmermans has shown the Commission's pragmatism and openness in developing a new way of working for the EU. This Task Force is about improving the effectiveness of EU policies by developing better teamwork and delivering real EU added value in the lives of our citizens. This report sets out ways to engage all levels of government and has the potential to transform the role of cities and regions in the decision-making process. The proposals are about putting citizens first: making the EU work for them, by reinforcing a bottom-up approach to EU policy-making. To use a football analogy, the Task Force wants a whole new ballgame – instead of just raising red and yellow cards when someone oversteps the mark, the 'active subsidiarity' approach looks to use the potential of both teams to ensure everyone gets a win."

Michael Schneider (DE/EPP) , State Secretary for the Land of Saxony-Anhalt, said: "The level of consultation and transparency in the EU decision-making process is greater than in national systems. But we are particularly pleased that the Task Force recommends broader and deeper input by local and regional governments, in line with their shared or exclusive competences as foreseen by their national legislation, diminishing the density of EU legislation, as well as ensuring a clearer added value of EU legislation. If accepted and implemented, these proposals would significantly improve the flow of information from local and regional authorities, and thereby increase their ownership and trust in the European project."

François Decoster (FR/ALDE), Vice-President of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie Regional Council, said: "The Task Force recognises that EU legislation must be more efficient and its added value made more visible by 'upgrading' the involvement of local and regional authorities. Under these proposals, local and regional authorities would be able to provide legislators with a clear assessment of the impact of EU legislation on the ground, have more influence in reviewing existing legislation and developing new laws, and offer a simpler way to ensure flexibility in EU legislation. They would have an opportunity to develop their relations with national parliaments, working together to assess the impact of EU legislation and be involved in the design and delivery of economic reforms."

It is expected that the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker , will take the proposals into account during his State of the Union address in September. In October, President Lambertz will elaborate on the value and implications of the Task Force proposals in his second State of the EU Regions and Cities address during the European Week of Regions and Cities. In the same week, President Lambertz and First Vice-President Markku Markkula will present the CoR's opinion "Reflecting on Europe: the voice of local and regional authorities to rebuild trust in the European Union", a report requested by Donald Tusk , President of the European Council.

Background

The Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and Doing Less More Efficiently was established by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in November 2017. He asked the Task Force to look at three issues: (1) the role of local and regional authorities in policymaking and implementation of European Union policies; (2) the role of subsidiarity and proportionality in the work of the Union's institutions and bodies; (3) whether responsibility for particular policies areas should be re-delegated to the Member States.

The Task Force met seven times to discuss the three objectives. On the basis of those discussions, a public hearing and the inputs provided from numerous stakeholders, the Task Force report presents nine recommendations, with implementation actions addressed to national parliaments, national, regional and local authorities, the European Parliament, the Council, the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission.

Chaired by the European Commission's First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, the Task Force includes three members from the European Committee of the Regions – President Karl-Heinz Lambertz (Belgium), Michael Schneider (Germany) and François Decoster (France) – and three members from national parliaments: Toomas Vitsut (Estonia), Kristian Vigenin (Bulgaria) and Reinhold Lopatka (Austria).

See also:

Report of the Task-Force

Website of the Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and Doing Less More Efficiently

Inter-institutional press release

Factsheet

State of the Union Address 2017 by European Commission President Juncker


 

Contact:

Natalie Vandelle
Tel. +32 2 282 2499
natalie.vandelle@cor.europa.eu    

Andrew Gardner
Tel. +32 473 843 981
andrew.gardner@cor.europa.eu