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Conference on the Future of Europe: we must listen and act to meet citizens' needs

When the plenary session of the Conference on the Future of Europe took place this weekend in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the voice of more than one million local and regional elected politicians was heard more clearly than ever thanks to an expanded delegation. In total, 30 regional and local delegates attended the second plenary meeting of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

The 18-strong delegation from the CoR, the EU's political assembly of local and regional governments, was joined in Strasbourg by 12 further representatives drawn from the leading European associations and other regional stakeholdersrepresenting local and regional authorities and assemblies from across Europe. Together they highlighted the vital role they play as the political level closest to and most trusted by citizens and responsible for delivering 70% of EU policy.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of Central Macedonia in Greece who leads the CoR's delegation said "Our citizens expect their elected leaders to listen and to act in order to deliver results on the ground. A recent survey of more 3,300 local and regional politicians across the EU shows that 85% of them want to be more involved in EU policy making and 75% want to introduce more participative democracy. Our delegation of 30 regional and local leaders is calling for a more democratic and effective European Union that recognises that decisions made in Brussels or Strasbourg are ultimately implemented by elected leaders at the local and regional level. They need to be a given a stronger role in EU decision-making in areas of their competencies, to rebuild trust and bring Europe closer to people."

Vasco Alves Cordeiro, CoR First Vice-President added: "Local and regional elected representatives are ready to be fully part of shaping Europe's future. Listening during the Conference is important, but acting is as important. The follow-up to the Conference will be key. The dialogue with Europeans should not end in spring 2022. We, members of the European Committee of the Regions, already call for the setup of a permanent dialogue with citizens. There should be no taboos to change the EU and the way it works, if it is to ensure cohesion, solidarity, social justice".

During the weekend in Strasbourg, the 30 local and regional delegates joined members of the European Parliament, European Commission, national governments, citizen's representatives and others in a number of thematic discussion groups, around which the final conclusions of the conference will be drawn. These include such diverse issues asparticipative democracy, health, climate change, social justice, education, digitalisation of society and migration, all areas where local and regional authorities are on the frontline in providing services, infrastructure and support to citizens.

The CoR will present its final contribution to the Conference at the 9th European Summit of Regions and Cities which will be held during the French Presidency of the Council of the EU in Marseille on 3-4 March 2022.

Source: European Commission News


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