AFCCRE University: A new «narrative for Europe» must be developed

25 octubre 2023

Marseilles hosted the 9th European University of the French Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (AFCCRE) at the Palais du Pharo on 2 and 3 October, at the invitation of Benoit Payan, Mayor of Marseilles, and Michèle Rubirola, First Deputy Mayor of Marseilles and Vice-President of the AFCCRE, on the theme of «Looking ahead to the forthcoming European elections: territories take the floor».

An annual meeting for elected representatives and local and regional officials responsible for European affairs, alternating between sessions, round tables and training courses, this 9th edition of the conference took place against a backdrop marked by conflicts at the gates of the European Union, the consequences of the climate, energy and social crises, and also, a few months ahead of the European elections, the rise of populism and anti-European parties in a large number of countries.

Michèle Rubirola took the opportunity to recall the European commitment and mobilisation of the city of Marseille to support, at local level, the transition of our territories, but also to contribute to the expression of European solidarity with peoples who are victims of aggression, in the image of the initiatives deployed towards the Armenian populations of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Referring to the unprecedented movement of French local and regional authorities in support of Ukraine, the President of AFCCRE, Philippe Laurent, Mayor of Sceaux and co-President of CEMR, stressed the importance of creating a support mechanism for French local and regional authorities wishing to share technical expertise with their Ukrainian counterparts. With this in mind, AFCCRE will very soon be making concrete proposals to the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and in particular to the Delegation for the External Action of Local and Regional Authorities, whose delegate Jean-Paul Guihaume took part in the meeting.

Faced with these challenges and the dangers they pose for the future of the European project, the question of citizen participation in the next European elections in 2024 was at the heart of the second day’s work. The actions and initiatives of local and regional authorities are, and will continue to be, at the heart of European responses,» said Pierre Loaec, Head of the European Commission Representation in Marseille. «Local and regional elected representatives must therefore play a major role in raising citizens’ awareness and bringing to life, in their eyes, a European democracy that is considered remote. Fabrizio Rossi, in the session devoted to neighbourhood policies.

Read the full article in French on AFCCRE website.

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