The Assembly of European Regions (AER) has adopted its Recommendations on the Conference on the Future of Europe. The adoption of these Recommendations by our Executive Board follows the announcement by the EU Institutions that the Conference will officially be launched on 9 May 2021.
The Conference on the Future of Europe aims to give citizens the chance to shape the European Union’s priorities. Through a series of open dialogues and debates across EU Member States, the Conference aims to give voice to ‘the silent majority’ of Europeans, and put people back at the centre of policymaking.
At the Assembly of European Regions, we want to make sure that citizens feel their feedback counts. This demands a citizen-led approach starting in Europe’s towns, villages and cities, with a strong role for local and regional authorities as a channel for citizens’ ideas and aspirations. This is why on 1 April 2021, the AER’s Executive Board formally adopted our Recommendations on the Conference on the Future of Europe. AER President, Magnus Berntsson welcomed the timely adoption of the Recommendations, and underlined the need for a strong role for local and regional authorities:
“For the Conference to succeed, politicians have to take the lead from our citizens – starting in our regions. They must have a key role to ensure citizens have a real say in Europe’s future.”
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a unique opportunity for regions to push for institutional reform, and put power back in the hands of our citizens. Given their uniquely close relationship with citizens on the ground, regional and local authorities must be meaningfully involved in the EU’s decision-making process. This requires us to remodel the EU architecture in a way that it truly delivers on the principles of subsidiarity, partnership and multi-level governance. This can be achieved by creating a permanent structure of consultation that will give a stronger voice to regional authorities and our citizens.
The AER will continue working to ensure the perspectives of European regions are an integral part of the Conference’s discussions. In this regard, we make the following recommendations to guarantee an inclusive and participatory Conference on the Future of Europe where regional authorities play a key role. We call for:
- Local and Regional Authorities to be viewed as equal partners in the Conference on the Future of Europe;
- A citizens-led Conference that reaches all corners of Europe, not only of the Union;
- The highest standards of inclusiveness both in participation and facilitation methods to be ensured throughout the process;
- Democratic legitimacy to be respected through the establishment of an open mandate for clear proposals, with structured involvement of citizens in discussions at all phases and at all levels – local and regional;
- Continuity of the Conference and the establishment of a permanent consultation structure for the EU.
You can view the recommendations below: