22 March 2013
EU advisory bodies vow to join forces in building a Europe "of the people and for the people"
The success of the European project depends on effective participation of all local, regional and civil society players in policy design and implementation and efficient coordination at all levels of governance; this was the main recurring message in yesterday’s EESC plenary debates with the president of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso.
EESC president Staffan Nilsson invited Mr Valcárcel Siso, president of the Committee of the Regions, to attend the plenary session of the EESC in order to look at ways of developing political cooperation between the two Committees.
"This would increase the efficiency and the impact of the advice that both EU consultative committees provide to the EU institutions", stressed President Nilsson, who on several occasions during his mandate has pleaded for closer cooperation between the two Committees.
Currently, under a cooperation agreement, the CoR and the EESC share premises and pool logistics and translation resources for their advisory and operational work, which provides economies of scale.
Mr Nilsson and Mr Valcárcel Siso agreed that the EU had everything to gain by incorporating the two Committees' recommendations into their policies and decisions, as those recommendations reflected the expectations and needs of society's political and socio-economic players.
The upcoming review of the Europe 2020 strategy would provide a major opportunity for the two Committees to come up with a set of complementary guidelines aimed at remedying the strategy's shortcomings and inefficiencies.
"It is crucial that greater coordination of budgetary, financial, social and economic policies at EU level should be accompanied by greater democratic accountability", said Mr Valcárcel Siso. "The EU must use all the means and channels available to it to ensure that the people are heard and their needs met".
He pointed out that the local and regional authorities represented by the CoR had repeatedly called for the EU to do more to create jobs instead of focusing so much on budget consolidation "without having achieved any success".
In the same vein, a number of EESC members noted that the EESC's recommendations regarding management of the crisis, including the need to slow the pace of austerity, had not been fully heeded.
Without local and regional authorities and civil society being seen as partners in the design and implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy, it would not deliver on its promises, the two presidents concluded.
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