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

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Governance and citizenship

European integration - 21.03.2007

With CEMR, Europe's municipalities and regions celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome
At the invitation of its President Michael Häupl, Mayor and Governor of Vienna, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions has marked the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome on Tuesday, 20 March in Vienna.
On the eve of the celebration of this anniversary in Berlin, on 25 March 2007, by the Heads of State and Government, the European Commission and the European Parliament, CEMR wished to take a position on behalf of the local and regional governments it represents through its national member associations.

CEMR is resolutely committed to the process of European unification. CEMR welcomes the historic and fundamental step which the Treaties of Rome constituted. These treaties established the foundations of a Europe of peace and social and economic development, and which has proved its capacity to evolve and grow.

It is essential for the European process to be given new life
Fifty years after the adoption of the Treaties of Rome, it is essential to mark a new phase in the development of a stronger, more unified and more democratic Union. Indeed, the existing Treaties cannot respond to all of the challenges currently facing European citizens, nor to the need for an institutional framework that is both democratic and effective, and which must now take into account the local and regional governments. Over the past fifty years, there has been considerable development in local and regional competences, which could not be taken into account in the founding Treaties and which it is now important to recognise.
For a successful institutional process
CEMR sincerely hopes that the Heads of State and Government will rapidly take all initiatives that contribute to the necessary relaunch of the institutional process of the Union.
As we expressed in Innsbruck, on the occasion of the General Assembly of European municipalities and regions in May 2006, whatever the outcome of the ratification process of the Constitution - which we support - the gains achieved for local and regional government, and for the democratic working of the Union, must be maintained and strengthened. We call on the European institutions and our national governments to ensure that this is achieved.

Local and regional governments are key partners for the relaunch of Europe
In order to respond to the issue of the democratic deficit, the Union must reconnect with its base, in our cities, municipalities and regions. Local and regional governments must play a vital role, in particular:
Ӣ in delivering high quality public services;
Ӣ in promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion,
consistently with the principles of subsidiarity, proportionally and self government.
The recognition of the role of local and regional authorities is a critical factor for the institutional relaunch of the Union

CEMR therefore underlines our wish to have included in the fundamental texts of the Union, beginning with the Berlin Declaration, among the values and ambitions of Europe, the recognition of local and regional democracy and self-government.
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