Enlargement Day | NALAS President invites the EU to turn from deliberation to action
NALAS President Memet Ergun Turan, Mayor of Fatih (Türkiye) and Vice President of Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU), shared a number of recommendations with the participants of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) annual Enlargement Day (4-5 May 2023).
Preceded by the welcome words of the CoR President, Mr. Vasco Alves Cordeiro, CIVEX rapporteur on the Enlargement Package 2023, Ms. Anna Magyar (Hungary/ECR) and Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Tobias Billstroem, Mr. Turan pointed out that the EU Enlargement policy represents for NALAS the most important foreign policy instrument. It is the Enlargement policy that invites candidates to be in the driving seat for reforms and improve the standard of living of their citizen as well as the development potential of their respective countries. The NALAS president stressed his conviction that peace, prosperity and security in the EU can only be sustainable in the future integrating the Western Balkan countries and Türkiye.
Asked about what the CoR could do to enhance its activities the straightforward reply was to further raise its visibility and sphere of influence to translate the deliberations of the Enlargement Days in action that can be seen at the local level.
“It is high time for the role of Local Governments to be fully recognised and better positioned in the EU integration process,” Memet Ergun Turan said. “Subnational governments and their associations should be embraced as ‘strategic dialogue partners’ by the EU institutions. This will unlock their so much needed contribution to our European common agenda for sustainable development, peace and prosperity”, the President added.
With regard to open issues that were not subject to discussion, Mr. Turan pointed out to different perspectives of enlargement. On the one hand, EU Enlargement represents for candidate countries access to prosperity, whereas on the other hand the EU, to maintain its attraction, needs to be dynamic. Stalemate comes along with a loss of appeal. Enhancing cooperation with local and regional governments adds to the dynamic of the accession process. In this context the NALAS President emphasised that the candidate countries will be an undeniable asset contributing to the EU.
The Enlargement Day is the European Committee of the Regions’ flagship event on EU enlargement policy dialogue and capacity-building, first held in 2015. With the granting of candidate country status to Ukraine, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, EU enlargement policy is now in a particularly sharp political focus. The 2023 edition was organised in co-operation with the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Read more on NALAS website.