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

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Local and regional governments as employers

European semester - 23.03.2018

Let towns and regions have a fair say on policy that impacts them
Every year, in the “European Semester”, the Commission gives policy recommendations to national governments on how to boost jobs and growth. Did you know that 76% of all these recommendations are territory-related? They simply cannot be implemented without local and regional governments.

And yet, despite the deep impact the European Semester has on towns and regions, they are currently excluded from its decision-making process. This situation has to change. That’s why CEMR and EPSU, as social partners (local governments as employers and public-sector trade unions), launched a new project: “Localising the European semester”.

Just as its name suggests, the goal of this project is to involve local governments in the conception of the European semester. We believe they deserve to have a seat at the table with the EU and member states when the future of towns and regions is being decided upon. Our aim is to strengthen the role of social partners in the framework’s decision-making process. We also want to make social partners’ involvement more homogenous across member states.

How the project will work

Specifically, over the next two years, we will meet people from the national and European level to discuss how we can best engage local governments in the European semester. We will also meet local and regional governments, to raise awareness about the system and how important it is.

These meetings will help us produce guidelines and tools: in fact, at the end of the project, we will produce a handbook for the involvement of local governments and trade unions in the European Semester. Our discussions will also help define policy priorities for local and regional governments.

Why local governments should be involved in the European semester

First of all, it would make sense for local governments to take part in the decision-making process of something that has a strong, direct impact on them. On top of that, by including local government, the European Semester would be much closer to citizens.

As it is now, the framework is quite detached from the reality of people’s everyday lives. Including local government helps fight this detachment, and instead strengthens links between the EU and citizens on the ground. It really makes sense any way you look at it: thanks to better knowledge of issues on the ground, the European Semester would even be more efficient, precise and adequate.
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