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Governance and citizenship

EU presidency - 21.12.2006

Call to the German EU presidency: "Europe's future must include its regional and local dimension"
The political leaders of the main associations of European local and regional government have united in a call to the German EU presidency to retain, and possibly strengthen the gains for regional and local government achieved in the European Constitution.
In a letter sent to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 21st December 2006, the Presidents of the six main associations* emphasise that modern European governance requires the active involvement of, and partnership between, all levels of government.
They recall six key gains for regional and local government achieved in the European Constitution, and call on the German EU presidency and member states to retain these points in any new or revised Treaty on the future of Europe. These gains help to make it easier for citizens to engage with European policies, thus ensuring that EU priorities more adequately reflect their day-to-day concerns. The six key gains are:
  • The explicit recognition of local and regional self-government (Article I-5);
  • The extension of the subsidiarity principle to include local and regional government (Article I-11);
  • The extension of the concept of cohesion to include territorial cohesion, both as an objective of the Union (Article I-3), and as a competence;
  • The subsidiarity / proportionality monitoring system (Protocol on subsidiarity);
  • More effective consultation of regional and local governments, and more account to be taken of the financial impact of EU policies on local and regional governments (Protocol on Subsidiarity);
  • The new right of the Committee of the Regions to refer subsidiarity issues to the Court of Justice.
The signatories also propose that the Declaration on the values of the European Union, due to be agreed next March in Berlin to mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, should include positive references to the principle of local and regional self-government, as well as the role that these levels of government play in the democratic life of the Union ... This would also demonstrate, they add, that Europe's governance is not a top-down issue, but something that involves us all.
The six associations* and their presidents are:
. Assembly of European Regions (AER) - President: Riccardo Illy, President of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
. Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) - President: Mr Lambert van Nistelrooij, Member of European Parliament, The Netherlands
. Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) - President: Mr Michael Häupl, Mayor of Vienna, Austria
. Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) - President: Mr Claudio Martini, President of Tuscany, Italy
. EUROCITIES - President: Mr Gérard Collomb, Mayor of Lyon, France
. REGLEG (Regions with Legislative Power) - President: Right Honourable Rhodri Morgan AM, First Minister for Wales
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