Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Governance and citizenship

Constitutional treaty - 21.06.2004

CEMR welcomes new European Constitution
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions welcomes the new European Constitution as a major step forward in building a strong united Europe which properly recognizes the role of the local and regional spheres of government.
Secretary-General Jeremy Smith said:
“For over 50 years, CEMR has backed the concept of a united Europe based on local and regional self-government. The new Constitution just approved by the heads of state and government goes a substantial way to meeting this objective.”
The Constitution includes the following points of importance to local and regional government:
Article I-5 explicitly refers to the recognition of regional and local self-government as part of the national identities of the member states
Article I-9 extends the concept of Subsidiary to include the regional and local levels (i.e. the Union should only act where the objective of the action cannot be achieved by the member states at central, regional or local level). Article I-45 also confirms that decisions must be taken as closely as possible to the citizen.
Article I-46 and the new Protocol on Subsidiarity require effective consultation by the Commission on new legislative proposals, in particular on their local and regional dimension.
The Protocol on Subsidiarity also requires the Commission to assess and take into account the financial and administrative impact on local and regional governments of proposed new legislation.
The principle of Territorial Cohesion is recognised amongst the shared competences of the Union, enabling the needs of Europe’s regions and areas of need to be better taken into account in future.
Jeremy Smith added:
“Good modern governance requires an effective partnership between all spheres of government – European, national, regional and local. We need to avoid a ‘top-down’ system and make sure that we carry the citizens with us. Even if the new Constitution includes many political compromises that cannot satisfy everyone, it provides a far clearer framework for the future European Union, and a better system of checks and balances for all actors.”
“We again wish to express our recognition of the excellent work of the Convention which prepared the draft Constitution, and most of whose work has been accepted by the heads of state and government. We wish of course to pay a special tribute to the convention’s (and CEMR’s) President, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, for the historic role he has played.

The Convention's website

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