Presidents of regional parliaments with or without legislative powers, Presidents of Regions and other regional entities endorsed on 29 June 2021 a Declaration which is the starting point of an Alliance of Regions for European Democracy that aims at enhancing the regions' political impact on the European decision making process on matters with direct relevance to the work of local and regional authorities.
The endorsement took place during the political event "The place of regions in the European Union architecture in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe" organised by the European Committee of the Regions , the Conference of European Regional Legislative Assemblies (CALRE), and the Government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores. The Declaration also calls for the Conference on the Future of Europe to discuss the role of regions in the EU institutional architecture and to improve it to better address citizens' needs.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas (EL/EPP), President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: "We all know that our Union is diverse. Some Member States are more centralised, whilst others regions hold legislative powers. But every region, regardless of their power, has a crucial impact on the national and European level. Regional and local authorities implement 70% of all EU legislation and represent one-third of public spending and half of public investments. Therefore, we cannot accept forever that others will make decisions on our behalf. Our regional and local legal responsibilities and democratic mandate must be fully taken into account at European and national level. It is time to end this democratic and legal gap. The Declaration we are adopting intends to launch a political Alliance of Regions for European Democracy. Its purpose is to improve the way regions impact EU decision making, for the benefit of our Union and the citizens it serves."
The 27 EU Member States vary in how their legislative and administrative powers are divided among different governance levels. Many have unitary and centralised systems while, in seven Member States, regions hold strong legislative powers and a degree of autonomy. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) appreciates the role of the Alliance that gradually includes all of the European Union's regions and equivalent territorial units and to work closely with their representative bodies, with the purpose of increasing their legitimate impact on EU decision-making, reflecting their competences and common interests.
The Declaration "The place of regions in the European Union architecture in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe" can be endorsed here.
Mark Speich (DE/EPP), CoR CIVEX Chair and Secretary of State for Federal, European and International Affairs in North Rhine-Westphalia: "Regions know better about the implementation of EU law than the national level. They are also closer to EU citizens and enterprises. Strengthening their position in the institutional structure of the EU could attribute to a better EU decision-making, and at the end to a better EU legislation.”
Source: European Committee of the Regions News