Last week, the delegation of the Renew Europe Group in the European Committee of the Regions (Renew Europe CoR) – consisting of Renew Europe CoR President François Decoster as well as Clotilde Armand, Mirja Vehkaperä and Cees Loggen and 30 local and regional delegates – joined members of the Renew Europe Group at the European Parliament as well as representatives of the European Commission, national governments, citizen’s representatives and others in a number of thematic discussion groups, around which the final conclusions of the conference will be drawn. These groups include diverse issues, such as participative democracy, health, climate change, social justice, education, digitalisation of society and migration, all areas where local and regional authorities are in the frontline in providing services, infrastructure and support to citizens.
President François Decoster, Mayor of Saint-Omer said: “Europe is everywhere in our territories. It supports our companies, our projects, and paradoxically, it’s often difficult to see. The European Committee of the Regions can become the focal point that’s missing at the moment, to make the voices of the citizens heard, through the local and regional authorities. We have put forward almost 40 ideas on active subsidiarity on the multilingual digital platform. We owe this to our citizens, we owe it to Europe.”
Clotilde Armand, Mayor of Bucharest sector 1 noted: “Our European citizens wish for a strong European economy, based on innovation and a carbon-neutral circular economy, but only if it leads to a more socially just Europe. What we need is a place-based industrial policy for regional development.”
Mirja Vehkaperä, Chair of the board of Oulu City Council, Finland, said: “The citizens’ interest in the debate on the future of Europe shows that they want to discuss climate change and they want to hold on to the rule of law. After the local elections in my own country, we decided that there should be one appointed EU councillor, a local person whose portfolio will include European issues.”
The European Committee of the Regions will present its final contribution to the Conference at the 9th European Summit of Regions and Cities which will be held during the French Presidency of the Council of the EU in Marseille on 3-4 March 2022.
Photo credit: Michel Christen, European Parliament 2021.