A wide debate on the future of Europe is taking place, at a time of multiple challenges for the European integration. Regions play a central role in promoting and engaging in partnerships and in supporting European co-operation in all its different forms: economic, social, cultural and political. It illustrates the need to discuss what role the regions could and should play in the future EU27. But the question remains “How regions can feed the debate about the future of the EU?”
In the conference “The future of the European Union and the role of regions” that happened on the 10th of April 2018, several themes have been discussed, as the risks of a multiple-speed Europe, the legitimacy of the principle of subsidiarity, the heart of European architecture or the future of the social Europe and of the Cohesion Policy. Regions seem to be closer to the citizens and they are seen as important actors to rebuild trust in the EU. They are the links that bring Europe closer together, and it is essential that the EU gives high priority in the future to supporting and reinforcing regional co-operation activities, particularly given the instability facing Europe. The opinion, coming out of the conference, is planned for adoption in the CoR plenary on 8-10 October 2018.
The main conclusions are as following:
- Consider that the debate on the future of Europe can be an opportunity to reintegrate citizens into the heart of European project, while re-vitalizing the European project;
- Are in favour of reforming the current EU institutional set-up through strengthened multi-level governance rather than new treaties or new EU ministerial positions;
- Consider that cohesion should be the number one policy priority for the EU and that having cohesion available in all regions is of great important for EU future.