The first day of the European Summit of Regions and Cities in Marseilles, Source: European Union / John Thys

EU stresses importance of regions, cities, and villages with new manifesto

EU stresses importance of regions, cities, and villages with new manifesto

Consisting of 12 points, it emphasises that local and regional leaders must be involved in decision-making

This year, the European Committee of the Regions is holding the European Summit of Regions and Cities in the French city of Marseille. There, leaders from all over the world gathered on 3-4 March to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how to strengthen democracy. In a press release, CoR revealed that the 2022 summit would culminate in the adoption of a manifesto, summarising the outcomes of the 2-day event.

The Marseille Manifesto of local and regional leaders

As its name suggests, the manifesto highlights the importance of regional and local authorities. Moreover, it emphasises the EU’s desire to respond to the needs and aspirations of its citizens more effectively. With the slogan “Europe starts in its regions, cities, and villages,” the manifesto consists of 12 key points:

  1. The manifesto first underlines that the foundations of democracy lie within the EU’s regions and municipalities as well as local and regional leaders, stressing that “democracy can only survive in the EU if it is well-rooted on the ground and practiced every day”. 

  2. Second, it promotes a model of a “House of European Democracy”, encouraging the adoption of a bottom-up approach to decision-making, with the aforementioned model relying on 3 key factors: “solid foundations represented by regional and local authorities, strong walls represented by the 27 member states and a protective roof provided by the EU”. 

  3. The manifesto further emphasises the importance of elections, noting that they are a fundamental tool for the functioning of democracy. As such, the EU wants key topics of European relevance to be discussed ahead of (national, regional, and local) elections.

  4. The fourth point focuses on addressing the existing political and legal legitimacy gap, making regions, provinces, cities, towns, and villages essential components in the EU’s decision-making mechanisms within the current/future Treaty provisions.

  5. With the next point, the EU calls for CoR to be upgraded so that it has “a binding role in a limited number of policy areas with a clear territorial dimension while avoiding additional complexity in the EU”. That is, it seeks to give greater consideration to the expertise of local and regional authorities. 

  6. The manifesto further sets out to involve citizens and young people by building on the experience of the Conference on the Future of Europe and developing dialogue that will link the EU with the realities at local, regional, and national levels.

  7. This point addresses cohesion, urging the Conference on the Future of Europe to “rearm ‘cohesion’ as a fundamental value as well as a compass for all EU policies based on the respect for partnership and multilevel governance”.

  8. Going further, the manifesto demands the involvement of local and regional authorities in strengthening resilience in the EU. 

  9. The manifesto’s ninth point calls for supporting a European Health Union that would help the EU react rapidly and effectively in health crises.

  10. Next, it demands the adoption of “a forward-looking European rural agenda, which would enhance urban-rural integration and promote the revitalisation of its communities.

  11. With its penultimate point, the manifesto calls on the EU to build the rule of law and promote good governance from the bottom up by using its ties with local and regional authorities in the neighbourhood and enlargement countries.

  12. Lastly, it seeks to renew the functioning of democracy and European values to win back citizens’ trust.

Read the full manifesto here.



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