"As part of our work programme for 2011, we will strive to strengthen the notion of EU citizenship, develop a European culture of multilevel governance (MLG), and give meaning to what the EU means for regional and local authorities in the candidate and potential candidate countries" explained Luc Van den Brande, Chairman of the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, and External relations. Addressing the members of CIVEX, who adopted the Work Programme today, he stated "the development of a common and shared understanding of European culture of multilevel governance is a permanent challenge and the CIVEX Commission must confirm its ambitions to see incorporated the principles and mechanisms of multi-level governance into European strategies and policies."
These priorities for 2011 were already tackled at the CIVEX meeting today, where addressing its members, Ziga Turk, Secretary General of the Reflection Group on Future of Europe 2030 brought to light some of the recommendations from the Group's report. The report to the European Council acknowledges that the EU uses a system of ‘multi-level governance’, where competences are shared – rather than split, and recommends that the CoR be consulted and involved more regularly so as to foster political citizenship in Europe and thus promote a groundswell of local support for the European venture. This bolsters the determination of the CoR to follow up the White Paper on MLG and undertake other initiatives, such as preparing a charter on multi-level governance.
In fostering a notion for EU citizenship, Roberto Pella, Vice-President of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions led the discussions around his draft opinion on the 2010 Citizenship report. "The first EU Citizenship Report looks at everyday problems faced by citizens when they exercise their EU rights and extend aspects of their lives beyond national borders, but omits the contribution that regional and local bodies can make to the effectiveness and quality of European citizenship" explained Roberto Pella. "Local and regional bodies could, within the framework of the European year of citizens, make an important and valuable contribution, by giving ample space to initiatives based on the concept of active citizenship, such as participatory democracy, consultations at local and regional levels, stimulating the debate on European issues" added the rapporteur.
As for enlargement, members held a rich debate with European Commission Director Dimitris Koukoulas around the recently adopted enlargement report, before EPP rapporteur Franz Shausberger presents his draft opinion at the CIVEX meeting on 10 February 2011. Alongside that meeting will be held the first event of the Local Administration Facility – a joint programme of the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission which seeks to support the visit of local and regional authorities to Brussels in order to increase their understanding of the EU and what this means for local and regional government.