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

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Governance and citizenship

EU policies - 18.11.2005

CEMR and EUROCITIES joint reaction to the Commission's work program: local and regional governments question José Manuel Barroso
Representatives of associations of local and regional governments exchanged views with the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, on 17 November 2005 in Brussels.
As President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and Member of EUROCITIES Executive Committee, the mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl spoke for both organisations. He welcomed the statement in the Commission's work programme that the European Union can only achieve its goals if they are pursued in concert with the national, regional and local governments. He stated that, like the European Commission, municipalities and regions are faced with challenges such as creating growths and jobs; however, there is a lack of coordination between the levels of governance, this explains why the biggest barrier to achieving the Lisbon Agenda's goals is the implementation gap.
Michael Häupl stressed that the Lisbon Agenda has also a social dimension which is currently neglected due to the focus on growth and employment.
He welcomed the fact that sustainable development is one of the Commission's work programme's priorities, but asked José Manuel Barroso why the work programme limits itself to national and international actors in the areas of the ageing population, the management of migration and climate change.
Michael Häupl expressed the concern of Europe's local government at restrictions imposed by the Commission and the Court of Justice on cooperation between local governments and on their choice in delivering public services.
José Manuel Barroso replied that there will be a Commission's White Paper on these issues in the coming weeks, that will draw together the results of the consultation process. The Commission wants to defend services of general interest, he added, but each member state has its traditions, and it is important to avoid a situation ending with 25 mini-markets in services.
José Manuel Barroso full speech (first part in French, second in English).
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