EU local leaders to adopt Ukraine declaration
At a crucial moment for Europe, the European Committee of the Regions and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region will welcome 2000 international, national, local and regional leaders in Marseille on 3-4 March. The 9th European Summit of Regions and Cities is being organised in the context of the French Presidency of the EU Council. Against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, EU local and regional leaders will formally express their support for the Ukrainian people. They will also share their vision for Europe, calling for a strengthening of the EU’s democratic foundations and fundamental change so it better equips local communities to respond to challenges such as healthcare provision, natural disasters, climate change and territorial disparities.
Local and regional elected politicians will adopt their final demandsfor theConference on the Future of Europe in the form of a “Manifesto of regional and local authorities for European democracy“, which underlines that the democratic functioning of the EU requires greater involvement of regions, cities and villages, as well as strengthening the democratic engagement of citizens and young people in particular. The focus should be on building an inclusive recovery after the Covid-19 crisis, strengthening territorial and social cohesion in Europe, and supporting the green and digital transitions.
The President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, said, “This Summit in Marseille gathers thousands of European leaders against the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The leaders will stand together in solidarity, for peace, democracy, dialogue and fundamental rights for the people of Ukraine and will discuss how to offer them concrete help. It is an opportunity to reaffirm that the main challenges – security, protection of human rights, the climate emergency, public services and regional disparities – need European unity and common European answers that start in our regions, cities and villages. The Summit is about improving European democracy so it protects, supports and improves the lives of every citizen in and outside the EU’s borders, bringing it closer to people.”
Renaud Muselier, President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region and vice-president of Regions of France, said: “At a time when war is at our doorstep, we must strongly affirm that we love Europe, we need Europe and Europe protects us. Our region has wanted to put Europe back at the heart of the economic, environmental and digital development. The 9th Summit of Regions and Cities is of a special nature. I would like to thank President Tzitzikostas and the European Committee of the Regions for the quality of the work we are carrying out together at this crucial moment. European territories, mayors, regional presidents and local elected representatives, with Europe close to their heart, are now needed more than ever to build the future of decentralised European democracy. They embody the European project the best, so let’s empower them! Beyond this Summit, we must ensure the success of the French Presidency of the European Union. France needs to be the motor for Europe to reach major results and achievements.”
The two-day Summit will be opened by President Tzitzikostas, President Renaud Muselier, Jacqueline Gourault, French Minister for Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local and Regional Authorities, Clément Beaune, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Martine Vassal, President of the Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence and Bouches-du-Rhône Departmental Council, Benoit Payan, Mayor of Marseille and André Viola, Head of the French Delegation to the European Committee of the Regions.
The programme will be structured around four themes:
- 3 March: European territories facing major societal challenges (3 March): This plenary and three high-level round table debates will focus on boosting health resilience, accelerating digital transition and anticipating, preventing and adapting to climate risks. Key speakers include Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, David Gallagher, Pfizer’s Regional President and Mami Mizutori, Head of the UNDRR.
- 3 March Cohesion and recovery: The role of EU cohesion policy in post-pandemic recovery will be the topic of a debate featuring Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Jacqueline Gourault, French Minister of territorial cohesion and local and regional authorities and Younous Omarjee, Chair of European Parliament’s REGI Committee. Revival of rural areas, cross-border cooperation, the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and EU’s enlargement are among the topics of the round table discussions.
- 4 March Building the House of European Democracy: The European Commission Vice-Presidents Margaritis Schinas (Promoting our European Way of Life) and Dubravka Šuica (Democracy and Demography), President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions, and MEP Eva Maydell, President of European Movement International, will join the debate with local leaders on the state of the play of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which aims to give European citizens a stronger voice in the EU decision-making process. The role of local and regional authorities in promoting European democratic values will also be discussed.
- 4 March The Future of European Democracy: Youth engagement and European values: The afternoon’s discussions will discuss how to widen youth participation in civic and democratic life, in the context of the digital transformation and challenges to European values. The final session will include the launch of the co-creation process of a European Charter on Youth and Democracy, and an inspirational exchange between the President of the European Youth Forum Silja Markkula and the Summit co-hosts Presidents Apostolos Tzitzikostas and Renaud Muselier.
Source: Putting citizens at the heart of Europe: European Summit of Regions and Cities to gather 2000 leaders in Marseille (europa.eu)
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