The President of the ALDE CoR group in the European Committee of the Regions Bas Verkerk, and Liberal Democrat members Jill Shortland and Doreen Huddart, as well as former ALDE-CoR presidents Flo Clucas and Lord Tope were in London on 25 May to meet with Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron. Together they discussed how the EU benefits local authorities and how the CoR provides them with opportunities to help shape EU policies.
President Verkerk said:
The EU offers local authorities a formal role in the development of European policies, through the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), enhancing the democratic process and facilitating interaction with the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of the EU.”
Jill Shortland, who leads the Lib Dem delegation to the CoR, highlighted how important EU funds for investment are for local communities:
“Many projects that previously relied on developer or national government funding are being completed by adding EU money. If we were not able to access this source of funding then housing will not be built, let alone schools, roads, hospitals, etc.”
The Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron recalled his own extensive experience as a local politician and said in respect of the campaign about UK membership of the EU:
“I believe citizens need to hear more about the work that local authorities do at European level and what the EU does for local communities. It really brings home that Europe is not something that is remote and impossible to understand. On so many levels, it is about empowering citizens to be more connected and have more opportunities. I therefore look forward to working more closely with the ALDE Group in the CoR and the Lib Dem members who sit on it.”