Representatives of European regions and cities call for the reduction of inequalities in Europe, with greater involvement of local governments.
If the European Union wants to respond to the social and economic needs of its citizens, it must thoroughly assess its performance and give greater opportunities to participate European cities and regions. This is the main message of the Bucharest Declaration, which was adopted by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on the 15th March at the 8th European Summit of Regions and Cities in Bucharest “(Re)New EUrope”.
The Bucharest Declaration "Building the EU from the ground up with our regions and cities" emphasizes that social, economic and territorial inequalities are unprecedented in Europe as a result of globalization, the digital revolution, climate and demographic change. These changes need to be regulated through targeted action at all levels of government, especially as one third of all public expenditures and more than half of public investment is made at local level.
Gints Kaminskis, Deputy Chairman of the Latvian delegation to the CoR and Chairman of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, pointed out, that referring to the text of the Declaration, the aim of local governments throughout the EU is to ensure economic and social development for their citizens: “Local governments are closest to their citizens and development is essential regardless of so they live in a city, a small village or a farmstead. ”
Andris Jaunsleinis, Head of the Latvian Delegation to the CoR, stressed that the cities and regions of the European Union, together with their elected representatives at the moment when differences and inconsistencies in the EU are growing, provide stability and confidence: “Citizens of local and regional authorities trust more than the government on average and most Member States more than the EU. Creating such stability for us today is very important to continue building a common future for Europe for the next generation.”
Dainis Turlais, a member of the Latvian delegation to the CoR, welcomed the call in the Bucharest Declaration to apply the concept of "active subsidiarity", which means reflecting the European added value of decisions in a responsible, effective and transparent manner at the closest possible level to citizens. “Subsidiarity is one of the cornerstones of the European Union, and local governments play a leading and decisive role here”.
The Declaration was handed over to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in preparation for the Sibiu Summit scheduled for 9 May, where EU leaders will discuss a new strategic agenda for the European Union to work for the next five years. The text of the declaration can be found here.