"I am pleased to see that, for the first time, the proposals for the structural funds stipulate a multi-level governance approach to developing and implementing new programmes" announced Luc Van den Brande, chair of the CoR's CIVEX commission and co-author of the CoR's 2009 White Paper on multi-level governance. "We are keen to see this commitment extended to all other relevant policy areas."
Ahead of the discussion on the follow up to the White Paper in CIVEX today, Luc Van den Brande welcomed the consensus on a multi-level approach among the other European institutions, but insists that this willingness to work together had to be turned into concrete opportunities. "This consensus, indispensable as it is, is not enough; what we need to see are the principles of multi-level governance applied in practice in those policy areas where there is a strong involvement from local and regional authorities."
The EPP Group believes that multi-level governance should be one of the guiding principles of the EU, an integral part of any European strategy or policy where local and regional authorities are widely implicated, and monitored closely to ensure that it is indeed being put into practice on the ground. An assessment of the state of play of multi-level governance across the EU – the results of the CoR's multi-level governance scoreboard – will form part of the Chairman's opinion, due to be adopted by the CIVEX commission in December.
Better spending occurs in partnership
Local and regional authorities must have sufficient finances to play their full role in putting European strategies into practice on the ground. "The current state of public finances for local and regional authorities is putting the relaunch of the European economy at risk, a real threat to the success of the Europe 2020 strategy. That is why I believe that the CoR should call for a thorough assessment of the state of these finances within the next multi-annual financial framework."
CoR ready to assess MLG and regionalisation across the EU
The state of regionalisation and decentralisation across the EU needs to be examined through a barometer of the political, legal and fiscal autonomy of local and regional authorities. The draft text also looks at how the institutional balance can be adapted, a repeated call for a European Union Charter for multi-level governance and a reform of European administrative procedures in line with it.
Luc Van den Brande also pointed to the concrete example of the European Commission's recent proposals for the future of structural funds, in which multi-level governance is confirmed as one of the leading 'general principles' of future cohesion policy and which states that member states must work in partnership with other levels of government in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes.