MEPs: “All actors should be involved from the beginning until the end of projects”
Local and regional government should be even better involved in the EU development policy, said in substance MEPs Charles Goerens (Luxembourg, Renew Europe Group) and Udo Bullmann (Germany, Socialists and Democrats Group) when they exchanged with PLATFORMA Political representatives at our Political Council in Strasbourg last week (9-10 March).
As coordinators, both MEPs have been strong defenders of cities and regions during the negotiations on the NDICI-Global Europe instrument. Marlène Siméon, Director of PLATFORMA, thank them for their “unwavering support”, despite the disappearance of a thematic line for local authorities in the new financial architecture of the EU for development policy.
Mr. Goerens stressed that NDICI-Global Europe merged 11 existing instruments, reinforcing the strength of EU development policy. “Global Europe is operational and shows huge progress”, said Mr. Bullmann.
Answering concerns from our partners on new deadlocks created by Global Europe and the difficulty for local governments and their associations to reach EU Delegations on the ground, Mr. Goerens said that all actors should be involved from the beginning until the end of projects. “Local and regional governments should be partners of the EU, but also of the Member States, who dispose of much larger means to act,” he added.
“There is a common interest for local and regional politics, and the European Parliament, to convince national politicians that the response to challenges can only be global” also said Mr. Bullmann. “A better implementation can only be achieved with the involvement of the local people, in the EU and in the partner countries,” he added.
Responding to the multiple crises
This debate followed an exchange with Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and Members from France, Georgia, Italy, and Sweden on how European towns and regions are equipped to respond to the multiple crises they are facing. “The war [in Ukraine] reminds us all of the need for all people, who share democratic values and hold dear freedom and democracy, to stand together in solidarity and support, and work together to defend, promote and uphold these values”, Mr. Kiefer stated in the opening.
The last part of the political debates was dedicated to Ukraine, during which PLATFORMA spokespersons from Georgia Nino Rukhadze and Lithuania Vaida Aleknaviciene, took the floor and shared with participants the main challenges their municipalities are facing: they underlined that the role of local governments should be fairly recognised in policy dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Eastern Partnership member states. Representatives from Ukraine explained to the audience the state of play of municipalities under Russian bombs. Our Ukrainian spokesperson Iryna Yarmolenko, shared her personal experience as a young local politician who suddenly became a refugee: she fled war and now lives in Poland.