The Conference on the Future of Europe

Putting Local and Regional Authorities at the Heart of European Democratic Renewal

October 2021

The Conference on the Future of Europe

In a context of increased internal and external threats, European institutions have felt that now was the moment when the European Union needed to retake its destiny into its own hands to renew the social contract with EU constituent units and citizens and re-agree on a joint project and trajectory for decades to come.

The starting point of this report is that any functioning multi-level system needs to pay attention to and empower the local level. The multilevel political system of the EU gives voice to the national level chiefly via the Council of the European Union, and to the local level primarily via the Committee of the Regions. Local and regional governments, however, still represent untapped potential.

This report will explore reforms that could strengthen institutions and practices of local representation in the EU political system. The present study intends to inform the position of the Committee of the Regions in the Conference on Future of Europe process, outlining possible constraints, scenarios, and options under different possible levels of treaty stability or change. It also aims to equip the Committee and the High-Level Group in their strategy and outline key insights regarding the preferences of citizens, institutions, and Committee of the Regions stakeholders (based on original interviews and a previous study conducted by the same research team on behalf of the Committee of the Regions).

Client: European Committee of the Regions

Authors: Michael Bruter, Sarah Harrison, Miriam Sorace and Elisabet Vives

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