External relations​

The Committee of the Regions is also working on relations with 3rd countries in a number of different ways, since many local and regional authorities have contacts and partnerships with the non-EU world: through the opinions (for instance on the EU enlargement process or on development aid) prepared by the CIVEX Commission; through its "Joint Consultative Committees" and "Working Groups" with individual or groups of EU candidate and pre-candidate countries; through the ARLEM for the Mediterranean and the CORLEAP for the countries of the Eastern Partnership; and through activities organized jointly with other EU institutions.

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Joint Consultative Committees (JCCs)

The establishment of Joint Consultative Committees  (JCCs) by the CoR Bureau ties in with the CoR's external relations strategy.

Joint Consultative Committees are created between the CoR and local and regional representatives of the candidate countries for EU accession, following a request from the government of the partner country concerned and on the basis of the provisions laid down in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) or in an official declaration of the Stabilisation and Association Council between the EU and the candidate country.

Although not directly involved in the accession negotiations, JCCs have a formal legal basis that would allow them to adopt joint reports/recommendations focused on areas directly relevant to local and regional authorities in the enlargement process, and these reports can also be addressed to the respective Association Council.

JCCs are composed of an equal number of CoR members (and alternate members) and local and regional representatives from the partner country. JCCs are co-chaired by a CoR member and a member from the partner country, and decisions are taken jointly. Their task is to discuss issues and exchange experience in order to facilitate the integration of the partner countries into the EU. This includes the use of pre-accession EU assistance, the implementation of the acquis communautaire and the strengthening of administrative and absorption capacity for EU funds.

Contact person in the PES Group secretariat:

Santiago Mondragón
 +32 (0) 2 282 22 83   send e-mail

 

Joint Consultative Committee with the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia


  • Members
  • Alternate members

A JCC between the CoR and FYROM was set up by the CoR Bureau on 3 March 2008, with a view to encouraging better integration of the territorial dimension in the enlargement process. Its establishment was based on a request from the FYROM government and on the recommendation of the former CoR Commission for External Relations and Decentralised Cooperation (RELEX). The aim of this JCC is to prepare the ground for the enlargement of the EU by promoting political dialogue and cooperation between the regional and local authorities in the EU and their counterparts in FYROM, a country
candidate to EU accession.

The PES Group is represented by 4 members and an equal number of alternates


Joint Consultative Committee with Montenegro


  • Members
  • Alternate members

This JCC was set up by the CoR Bureau in March 2011. The legal basis for the establishment of this JCC is found in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and its Member States, on the one hand, and Montenegro, on the other hand, which entered into force on 1 May 2010. This JCC has an enhanced institutional role, which reinforces the CoR's longstanding action in favour of greater inclusion of the territorial dimension in the stabilisation and association process for South Eastern Europe and of a political dialogue between EU local and regional authorities and their Montenegrin counterparts.

The PES Group is represented by 3 members and an equal number of alternates



 

Joint Consultative Committee with Serbia


  • Members
  • Alternate members

JCC Serbia was set up by the CoR Bureau in June 2014, on the basis of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and its Member States, on the one hand, and Serbia, on the other.

JCC Serbia consists of 7 members from each side and an equal number of alternates. The PES Group is represented by 2 full and 2 alternate members.

JCC Serbia aims at greater inclusion of the territorial dimension in the stabilisation and association process for South Eastern Europe and strengthened political dialogue with Serbian local and regional authorities..

 





Working Groups

Like JCCs, Working Groups (WGs) are created directly by a decision of the CoR Bureau. The WGs constitute a contact point with the Local and Regional Authorities (LRAs) of the partner countries and are used as a tool to deepen contacts and discuss specific bilateral or multilateral issues.

WGs are bodies of the CoR, without a formal structure involving LRAs from the partner countries, who can, however, be involved on an ad hoc basis. In this regard, the primary role of the WGs is to deepen the CoR's political examination and evaluation of the enlargement process in the relevant countries. As such, the WGs do not adopt reports or conclusions at their meetings, but instead they feed their political considerations into the CoR's internal decision-making process.

WGs are composed only of members of the CoR (12 full and 12 alternate members). The participation of local and regional representatives from the partner countries varies according to the topics discussed and the place of the meeting.

Contact person in the PES Group secretariat:

Santiago Mondragón
 +32 (0) 2 282 22 83   send e-mail


 

Working Group on the relations with Turkey


  • Members
  • Alternate members

The Working Group (WG) on Turkey was created by the CoR Bureau in December 2006, in order to provide CoR members with an instrument for accompanying the accession negotiations with Turkey and creating a forum for dialogue with the Turkish regional and local authorities. The CoR has repeatedly called for the establishment of a Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) with Turkey, which is a more formal configuration. In the absence of a formal request from the Turkish government for setting up a JCC, the WG promotes the CoR involvement in inter-institutional cooperation while maintaining political dialogue between the EU's local and regional authorities and their counterparts in Turkey.

The Working Group on Turkey has 12 full and 12 alternate members. The PES Group is represented by 4 members and an equal number of alternates.


Working Group on relations with the Western Balkans


  • Members
  • Alternate members

The Working Group (WG) on the Western Balkans (which covers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo) was set up by a Bureau decision in February 2006 in order to provide CoR members with an instrument to encourage a greater inclusion of the territorial dimension in the stabilisation and association process for South-Eastern Europe. The CoR has frequently reiterated its willingness to support the initiatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament to encourage the European perspective for the Western Balkans. The Working Group also contributes to the CoR's involvement in inter-institutional cooperation in this field, while maintaining political dialogue between the EU's local and regional authorities and their Western Balkan counterparts.

The Working Group on the Western Balkans has 12 full and 12 alternate members. The PES Group is represented by 4 members and an equal number of alternates.


 

Task Force CoR-Ukraine
In December 2014, the Conference of Presidents discussed the setting-up of a Task Force within the Committee of the Regions for enhanced cooperation with Ukraine.

The Task Force was established by the Bureau in the form of working group in February 2015. The Task Force is composed of the president of the CoR, the First Vice-President of the CoR, and one member nominated by each political group. 

The objective of the Task Force is to support Ukraine in its efforts through the reform process by enhancing and strengthening the role of local governance and local democracy, as well as territorial cooperation between Ukrainian LRAs and the EU.

The Task Force serves as a consultative body and debates

on matters related to decentralisation (political, administrative and fiscal), the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and horizontal issues closely related to the proper functioning of local and regional authorities (policy and rule-making, human rights, social issues and the  fight against corruption, abuse of power, nepotism).

The activities of the Task Force also feed into the activities of the Support Group for Ukraine (Balas Group) coordinating the activities of the European Commission in support of Ukraine. It also links up with the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.

The Task Force draws up reports and presents them to the Bureau and the CIVEX commission. The work of the Task Force also provides input to the work of the CIVEX commission and of CORLEAP in the field of Eastern Partnership.

Catiuscia Marini (IT) is the PES Group member in the Task-Force CoR-Ukraine





Euro-Mediterranean Assembly of Local and Regional Authorities (ARLEM)


Inaugurated in Barcelona in January 2010, the Euro-Mediterranean Assembly of Local and Regional Authorities (ARLEM) is a permanent political body representing local and regional authorities within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. It contributes to the institutional and multi-level governance of the Barcelona process called the Union for the Mediterranean. 

The Assembly consists of an equal number of delegates representing the EU and delegates representing the southern and eastern Mediterranean partner countries. The Assembly is chaired by a co-presidency, representing the EU (CoR President) and the southern and eastern Mediterranean partners, respectively. 

The current presidents are CoR President Markku Markkula (EPP/Finland) and Hani Abdelmasih Al-Hayek, Mayor of Beit Sahour, Palestine.

ARLEM consists of 80 members. The Assembly comprises 40 members from the Mediterranean partners and 40 members from the European Union (32 members of the Committee of the Regions and 8 members of European associations of local and regional authorities active in the field of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation). The PES Group is represented by 10 members.

ARLEM has one commission, Commission for Sustainable Territorial Development whose role is to issue opinions to be adopted at the annual ARLEM Plenary Session. ​

Contact person in the PES Group secretariat:

Santiago Mondragón 
 +32 (0) 2 282 22 83   send e-mail

Visit the ARLEM website





Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership
(CORLEAP)


Inaugurated in Poznan in September 2011, CORLEAP is a platform for a regular dialogue between local and regional authorities from the EU and Eastern Partnership (EaP) partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). 

CORLEAP is the only EU platform that offers an opportunity to discuss the contribution by cities and regions in the development of the EaP, which was launched by the European Commission in December 2008, seeking to foster relationships with the six Eastern European and South Caucasus countries mentioned above. The EaP policy brings partner countries closer to the EU by improving trade economic ties, travel agreements and other relevant policies between the EU and its neighbours to the East.

CORLEAP is co-chaired by the President of the Committee of the Regions and a representative from the partner countries. The current co-presidents are CoR President Markku Markkula (EPP/Finland) and Anar Ibrahimov, Chairman of the Committee of Human Rights International and Inter-Parliamentary Relation of the Ali majlis (Parliament) of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (Azerbaijan). ​

CORLEAP consists of 36 regional and local politicians: 18 from the CoR and 18 from the six Eastern partner countries.  The PES Group is represented by 6 full members.

Contact person in the PES Group secretariat:

Santiago Mondragón
 +32 (0) 2 282 22 83   send e-mail

Visit the CORLEAP website


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