Šuica: Committee of Regions Very Important for Conference on Future of Europe

By 13 February 2020

ZAGREB, February 13, 2020 - The Committee of the Regions is an extremely important institution for the Conference on the Future of Europe as without the local level the Conference would not be feasible, European Commission Vice President for Demography and Democracy Dubravka Šuica said in Brussels on Wednesday.

She spoke about the Conference at the first plenary of the Committee of the Regions' new make-up. She is in charge, on behalf of the Commission, of organising the Conference which is expected to start on May 9, Europe Day, and last two years.

We must make it so that citizens see the tangible effects and results of debates, which can be achieved via a feedback mechanism that makes it possible to turn ideas into clear recommendations based on which we will take further steps, Šuica said.

We want to be innovative, to eliminate the gap between institutions and citizens, and local and regional representatives have a key role in that, she added.

Šuica said the Committee of the Regions, although its role is only advisory, would have equal treatment as other EU institutions.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas (EPP), the Committee's new president, said the Conference on the Future of Europe must be an opportunity for genuine debate with citizens and for changing the EU.

It must be open and inclusive. The Conference will not be successful if run vertically, if it is centralised, if it is launched from Brussels and does not actively include local and regional leaders. Only through ambition and openness to change can we restore trust and build an EU that puts citizens first, he added.

Croatian Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica also spoke at the plenary. "We must come closer to citizens, listen to them and respond to their problems more adequately. The expertise of the Committee of the Regions at local level and its experience in organising dialogue with citizens will represent a valuable contribution to this initiative," he said.

The Committee of the Regions today adopted a resolution on the Conference on the Future of Europe and a resolution on the European Commission's work programme.

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