Europe’s regions and cities are ready to explain, communicate and promote the European project of further integration.
The European Commission has to add another D to its “plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate”: D for “Decentralisation”. Above all, in the current reflection period on Europe, the EU has to be more effective and closer to citizens. Therefore, the EU communication strategy, including the White Paper “Reconnecting Europe with citizens”, needs a common approach with regional and local authorities. They provide a concrete way to bridge the growing gap between the world of politics and the world of citizens’ everyday lives. They are ideally placed to make their fellow-citizens express their expectations on the EU, and to set up local debates on local issues that have a European dimension, and to channel back views and responses to the EU decision-makers. They can reconnect the Brussels’ EU with its citizens! Regions and cities are the most suitable platforms to promote the idea of Europe among citizens. We, the European People’s Party, defend a Europe which is closer to its citizens, a Europe of proximity, a Europe with a bottom-up approach.
Regional and local authorities implement over 70% of EU legislative acts and their know-how is important for the European institutions’ policies and actions. Regions and cities are particularly close to the grassroots. They can deliver concrete solutions to the European institutions’ proposals for legislation especially on economic, social, transport, security, environment, education and cultural policies. They play a key role in both strengthening cohesion and solidarity and in promoting economic growth and jobs.
The following measures are proposed in order to rebuild the trust of European citizens in the European project. The EU institutions, in close partnership with local and regional authorities must:
The EPP wishes to make the most of the reflection period by supporting the organisation of a series of public meetings and communication campaigns to be held in European cities and regions – with the participation of Members of the European Commission to the ground, accompanied by local CoR Members and Members of national and European Parliament – so to better identify and understand the situation of common Europeans and to improve communication with citizens through regional and local media. Local and regional authorities, local and regional parliaments or assemblies, and local and regional social partners are willing to take their part of responsibility in building a better and more participative European Union.