In a resolution adopted at its plenary session on Thursday, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) recalled that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are the best way to ensure effective and efficient decision making reflects the real needs of citizens.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions said: “Europe must act as close as possible to the citizens, led by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. This does not mean less Europe: it means more Europe with better governance so every decision directly improves citizens’ lives. Local and regional governments must be given a stronger role in EU decision-making in the areas that fall under their competences – such as education, health, environment and cohesion policy – so it responds to citizens’ needs. To win back people’s trust we must also promote our European values through education and through a permanent two-way dialogue with them”.
The plenary session saw an exchange between the CoR’s members and members of the Conference of the Future of Europe plenary working group on European Democracy, namely;
Reinhold Lopatka, Member of the National Council of Austria: “The Conference on the Future of Europe is the opportunity to reactivate the early warning mechanism that can assess the added value of EU laws and hence the implementation of the subsidiarity principle. This would allow national and regional parliaments to take back ownership on the EU decision making process.”
Sandro Gozi, Member of the European Parliament: “The Conference on the Future of Europe can be the starting point of the establishment of a new European political sphere. Transnational lists for the European Parliament elections can contribute to this. New ways of interaction with citizens also need to be sought in order to have participative democracy complementing representative democracy. Here the local and regional level that is closest to the people has an animator’s role to play”.
Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania: “All levels of governance need to be exploited to restore people’s trust in the European Union and in democracy. In particular the local and regional level can contribute to this aim, because they know people’s concerns best”.
Wepke Kingma, Netherlands’ Envoy for the Conference on the Future of Europe: “A survey by a renowned Dutch polling agency shows that the Dutch citizens are keen to be better informed about the EU. Education and independent media can play an important role here. Transparency is key to make the EU better understood. The final report of the Conference on the Future of Europe has to take into account citizens’ recommendations and to foresee concrete follow-up actions”.