★ that European integration happens at several levels and that active involvement of Europe’s cities and regions in shaping and implementing EU policies, as well as developing greater interaction amongst themselves and their citizens will strengthen the foundations of the Union.
★ that local and regional authorities of Europe have privileged relations with those citizens who are more inclined to interact with their municipal or regional elected representatives.
★ that the role of local and regional authorities in the EU needs to be enhanced to reinforce the democratic legitimacy of the EU and combat growing euroscepticism.
★ that the economic crisis has unleashed forces wishing to undermine EU values and fundamental rights, which must be upheld.
★ that involvement of local and regional authorities in the enlargement process is of key added value because the acquis communautaire cannot be fully integrated without a true bottom-up approach.
★ Local and regional authorities being the first level of government to be confronted with the challenges of unmanaged immigration, we feel that now is the time to fully include them in the development and implementation of a coherent European migration policy based on the respect of human rights.
★ In the field of security and terrorism, the EU is facing huge challenges and we firmly believe that the key to combatting these phenomena is to uphold EU core values such as freedom and fundamental rights to create more inclusive societies where all people are given equal chances and where different ethnic minorities are living side by side and to redouble efforts to increase dialogue between different religious, ethnic, and social communities in Europe.
★ that the reduction of administrative burden and better regulation will unleash the entrepreneurial potential of European citizens.
➔ focus on assisting Ukraine in its decentralisation process, engaging with local authorities in the Eastern Partnership, Turkey and the Western Balkans to help strengthen local democracy, ensure a successful start to the Joint Consultative Committee with Serbia.
➔ place a greater emphasis on dialogue with the Southern Mediterranean and we will support the territorial dimension of the Union for the Mediterranean’s sectorial policies.
➔ promote the extension of cohesion policy to the Southern neighbourhood and promote the adoption of a macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean, be very attentive to the adoption and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals that will mark the agenda post-2015 in development.
➔ call for the extension of the Local Administration Facility which helps build local capacity in enlargement countries, to Eastern and Mediterranean countries.
➔ call on the European Commission to speed up its work on the comprehensive European Agenda on Migration taking into account the key role of local and regional authorities in its implementation and will follow the work of the European Migration Forum for the integration of third country nationals legally residing in the Member States.
➔ With regard to improving the quality of EU legislation, ALDE-CoR will support the monitoring of the EU Regulatory Fitness Programme (REFIT) to make sure it delivers on its objectives of simplifying the EU acquis, reducing red tape and regulatory costs, as well as pushing for a European standard definition of goldplating.
➔ continue to support the improvement of the European Citizens’ Initiative and encourage developments in citizen participation in the EU.
➔ continue to push for the development of a full Erasmus for local politicians.
➔ put strong emphasis on the key role local and regional authorities play in preventing and reversing radicalisation. The local level is the level best fit for this important task. Local authorities are already starting to collaborate across borders exchanging information and ideas. The ALDE group will present a proposal for an own-initiative opinion on this important topic.