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

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Governance and citizenship

Europe 2030 - 31.01.2018

A local and regional ambition for Europe
Discover the foreword published in "Europe 2030: local leaders speak out", signed by the president of CEMR and Emilia Romagna, Stefano Bonaccini. This unique piece of work of nearly 400 pages is the result of two years of discussions and debates within CEMR. It is a collection of ideas from more than 100 local and regional leaders, from all over Europe, and a synthesis of thoughts and analyses.

In this period of doubts, we should always remember that Europe, our Europe, was founded on the ashes of two World Wars by visionary people who knew that only a united Europe could build long-lasting peace, and bring social progress and well-being to the citizens of our continent.

Among those visionary women and men, Mayors and local leaders played a decisive role when creating, in 1951, the Council of European Municipalities, thus answering the call of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman. As men and women of action, they joined the movement of unifying Europe, showing the way forward to the heads of government.

As a signal of what Europe should become, a “union of people rather than a coalition of nation states”, they adopted as a first symbolic position: “the European Charter for Local Liberties” calling for the empowerment of local government in the future Europe.

It is this spirit of “avant-garde” that CEMR seeks to revive by inviting local and regional leaders to re-invent the Europe we hope for. A stronger Europe, more cohesive, more integrated, more open to the world. A Europe that can answer the challenges of our time.

Local and regional leaders are always at the forefront of challenges, dealing with basic public services, hosting the ones in need, welcoming refugees and migrants, adapting their cities to climate change, organising the life of their community with the support of citizens. In their daily work, they cannot afford not to be pragmatic and find solutions for any issue the states cannot solve. This is why they understand and realise the importance of being united and join forces to build a better future for the next generations.

That said, Europe needs to change, and so does our discourse towards the European project: we can’t afford to be either euro-enthusiasts or euro-sceptics. We are Europeans, and our children need us to be conscious of our responsibilities. Our predecessors had a dream. Let’s live up to their expectations. Especially today, when it is so difficult to explain, to convince, to awaken the feeling amongst our fellow citizens that a united Europe is the way forward.

Proud Europeans, we aim to be pioneers in mobilising all actors to build a new Europe. CEMR is the voice of the closest level of government to the citizens, the voice of all local and regional governments in Europe, the voice of their representative associations.
We are eager to support this avant-garde spirit!

May this book encourage all European leaders to trust in the wisdom of grass root engaged citizens, to build a brighter future for us all, and for the world!

To read a summary of the contributions, click here.
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