The European People’s Party (EPP) and the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions (EPP-CoR) have adopted a declaration calling for a stronger European house of democracy with villages, cities and regions serving as the foundations of the house to respond to challenges that know no border between the European, national, regional and local levels. With the deadline for Member States to submit National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRP) approaching, the declaration calls for engagement of local and regional authorities (LRAs) in preparation of the plans and to take on board the proposals of the most trusted level of governance and the one closest to citizens that knows where Europe needs to hit with precision for a successful recovery. The declaration outlines that through multi-level governance, Europe can deliver a quicker felt recovery that reaches the real economy and citizens. EPP-led villages, cities and regions called for sufficient resources and expressed commitment to bounce back to a more sustainable and digital economy that leaves no one behind.
The declaration emerged from an EPP Local Dialogue held online which saw the participation of local and regional, national and European leaders.
, EPP-CoR President and President of West Pomerania Region said “LRAs are the first contact of citizens with democracy. Across Europe, we have been on the frontline of this pandemic. I firmly believe that we as the EPP are moving in the right direction pushing for a jobs-led recovery, shaping digital transition via local realities and bringing partners, including industry and business on board, when it comes to climate action. However, we need to also insist on a democratic recovery, where villages, cities and regions are fully engaged. Only by doing so we will achieve recovery that truly reflects the challenges on the ground.” In his remarks, Geblewicz emphasised the need to engage the local and regional level in recovery plans. “We cannot have the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility as a centralised and top-down exercise. It would be a lost opportunity for a plan that is supposed to strengthen economic, social and regional cohesion.”
, MEP and EPP Secretary-General said “Europe starts at home. As our continent stood united in the face of COVID-19, European solidarity was rooted in every community, village, city and every region. A year ago when we entered the first lockdown, regional and local representatives stood on the frontline. Today, from the deployment of vaccines to the protection of our way of life and the forthcoming economic recovery, they guide us through this crisis. More than ever, we are all in this together. This is why I sign the declaration to achieve the recovery by strengthening the roots of our European democracy, initiated by the EPP-CoR.”
EPP-led villages, cities and regions have been at the forefront to fight the pandemic and its consequences. They are now committed to play an active role in the recovery process to ensure its success. During the EPP Local Dialogue, EPP-CoR members made a series of recommendations for this to happen including engagement of villages, cities and regions in preparation and implementation of NRRPs and taking on board their proposals, the swift mobilisation of recovery funds for cities and regions to implement projects on the ground, as well as direct funding to eliminate unfair and political distribution of EU funds by Member States. This would enable concrete and sustainable projects to be implemented across Europe.
The full event can be watched here
A summary of the event is available here
The Declaration is available here