Stuttgart, Baden Württemberg (D), 5 May 2000
At its meeting in Stuttgart on 5th May 2000, the political Bureau of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) debated the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), enlargement and the Charter of Fundamental rights of the EU.
Firstly the members of the AER Bureau discussed the question of the distribution of competences between the different levels of governance at European level. “Before the enlargement of the Union, it is primordial to identify the fields of competences of the European authorities and those which would be better managed by national, regional or local authorities” stated the Secretary of State, Willi Stächele, representative of the German Länder within the Conference which presented a report on the negociations. The production of a “catalogue of competences” would allow the principle of subsidiarity, presented in the Treaty of Amsterdam to be clarified. Bureau members also pleaded in favour of reinforcing the Committee of the Regions of the EU which must become a full European institution, and greater legitimacy of the European Parliament through the creation of a Chamber of Regions.
The enlargement of the Union to the States of Eastern, South Eastern and Central Europe is a political, economical, historical and cultural necessity to which, according to the AER, there is no political alternative. It offers the possibility of lasting peace, freedom and prosperity in the whole of Europe. The AER, which has been contributing to the European integration of the Regions of the CEEC for over 10 years considers this as a great opportunity to overcome the divisions which still exist in Europe.
Charter of Fundamental rights of the EU
The AER supports the decision of the European Council to draw up the Charter of Fundamental rights and is currently preparing its contribution: it insists, in particular, on the importance of the right to national and regional identity in virtue of the principle of subisdiarity and on social rights, which are the fundamental rights of man (the right to work, to accomodation, to medical care…).
Moreover, the AER Bureau adopted a strategic document for its action in a growing Europe. Its main objectives are:
– increased cooperation between the Regions of Eastern and Western Europe and acceleration of the enlargement process of the EU;
– the drawing up by the IGC of a European Treaty built on the principle of subisdiarity including clearly defined fields of competences;
– the development of regionalism and the reinforcement of interregional networks. In its action plan the AER also wishes to include Regional Parliaments in its activities to a greater extent.
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