Members of the Committee of the Region's Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) today gave almost unanimous support to the draft opinion on Reflecting on Europe by CoR President Karl-Heinz Lambertz (PES/Belgium) and CoR First Vice-President Markku Markkula (EPP/Finland), responding to a request by European Council President Donald Tusk to put forward "the voice of local and regional authorities on how to rebuild trust in the EU".
The opinion takes up the results of more than 200 citizens' dialogues organised by CoR members in their cities and regions, providing a platform for citizen engagement in the ongoing debate on the future of Europe and collecting their views through an online survey.
"During the past months, we have listened to citizens from all over Europe. Their main message for Europe's future is clear: a call for action to reduce inequalities, strengthen solidarity between and within Member States and regions, and open up channels for democratic participation. As local and regional representatives, we are best placed to be their voice in Brussels", Mr.Lambertz stressed.
The opinion gives recommendations on central questions concerning the EU's political future, including:
- stressing that EU policies need to empower people in addressing the issues that are important to their daily lives;
- demanding a strong cohesion policy beyond 2020 for all regions;
- calling for a more comprehensive European social model that ensures access to high-quality public services, employment and education opportunities especially for young people;
- requesting more support for cities and regions in managing migration and the long-term integration of migrants;
- insisting on concrete action to fight climate change and promote sustainable development;
- arguing that all this requires an ambitious EU budget post 2020 that allows cities and regions to deliver.
The draft opinion is scheduled to be adopted at the October 2018 CoR plenary session. Together with the president's "Speech of the State of the Union from a local and regional perspective", it will lead to the adoption of a set of proposals for the European elections 2019 by the CoR summit in Bucharest, Romania in March next year.