THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- Acknowledges the importance of listening to citizens' and local and regional authorities' concerns and meeting their expectations, in terms of an EU project built on more solidarity, cohesion and proximity;
- Signals that despite the fact that over two-thirds of respondents are convinced that their country has benefited from being a member of the EU, there is a widespread frustration with the EU, as the Union is often perceived as too remote and not trustworthy. At the same time, many people still feel that they do not know what the EU is and what it is doing. This is leading to a significant gap between people's expectations and the EU's ability to deliver. There is a lack of perceived benefit in tackling local issues, also partly due to weak communication, as well as misleading narratives and vocabulary used when addressing citizens and poor involvement in the decision-making process;
- Underlines the strong call of local and regional representatives to be fully involved in the definition and implementation of the EU project and for empowering EU action through the proper application of the subsidiarity principle; is reassured by the final report of the Task Force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality which stresses a new understanding of "active subsidiarity";
- Reiterates in this respect that anchoring EU policies locally makes a difference to people's lives;
- Considers it essential to build our union from the bottom up: the way forward for a democratic revival of the EU is possible through a grassroots engagement;
- Insists that facilitating citizens' participation in EU policies and co-creating a permanent dialogue with people beyond 2019 is crucial to for increase increasing the democratic legitimacy of the EU and to for bringing Europe closer to its citizens;
- Stresses the necessity need to ensure room to manoeuvre for cities and regions with a European post 2020 budget that meets ambitions and uses flexibilities to act and invest.