Stefano Bonaccini: ''We need to fight for their voices to be heard, both at the EU and national levels''

Stefano Bonaccini: ''We need to fight for their voices to be heard, both at the EU and national levels''

18.10.2021

Stefano Bonaccini: "President von der Leyen should stick to her words when she said that local and regional governments will be at the heart of our recovery"
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has a long and fruitful cooperation with the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), which turns 70 this year. Many joint initiatives, consultations and activities have been developed by the CoR and the CEMR so far and many others are already in the pipeline.

Just a few days ahead of the 19th European Week of Regions and Cities, which will take place from 11 to 14 October, we spoke with the President of Emilia-Romagna and CEMR, Stefano Bonaccini, on how local and regional governments take up the new challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate disruption and territorial inequalities.

President Bonaccini, after seven decades of work to empower local and regional authorities in Europe, what would you say are CEMR’s main achievements?

Seventy years is a long time in politics and there is much to choose from. In the early years, CEMR greatly contributed to the European project with the promotion of town twinning. This movement was crucial to reconcile people across the continent in the aftermath of the war. Today it is estimated that there are over 20,000 twinning across Europe.

Protecting local democracy and autonomy was also crucial. CEMR’s advocacy in this area culminated in the 1985 European Charter of Local Self-Government of the Council of Europe . Today, the Charter’s 47 signatories all commit to respecting local democracy and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is responsible for evaluating the application of the Charter, in each Member State, through a regular monitoring, country-by-country.

Over the years, we have extended our action to an increasingly wide variety of areas, including issues of gender equality, the environment or international cooperation. But in terms of achievements, I would cite two recent examples.

Alongside other networks of local and regional governments, we have successfully influenced negotiations on cohesion policy to ensure that towns, cities and regions must be consulted when designing and delivering EU funds. To bolster our efforts, we joined with other supporters of a strong regional policy to form the #CohesionAlliance, launched by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) in 2018.

More https://ccre.org/en/actualites/view/4224


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