Municipalities and regions lack visibility in the Eastern Partnership post 2020 Communication
The EU “does not sufficiently and clearly refer to the role of local and regional governments and their associations in promoting good governance, local democracy and the rule of law through decentralisation processes” in its Joint Communication on the Future of the Eastern partnership (EaP), states PLATFORMA’s network in a reaction.
The Eastern Partnership celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. The EU plays a very important role in the area of EaP promoting democracy, rule of law and economic development in the eastern neighbours.
However, the key role of local and regional governments is insufficiently recognised in the Communication. Local and regional governments have a key role to play in public administration reforms, sustainable local policies, local economic development, environmental and climate resilience, gender equality and diverse societies, state reform, and delivery of public services, including through digital means, in all priority areas of the European Union.
PLATFORMA also regrets that the Communication does not draw more attention to the importance of capacity-building at local and regional level.
For two years now, PLATFORMA supports the roll out of CEMR European charter for gender equality in local life in the EaP Region, with workshops and deep exchanges among peers to ensure the development of action plans by municipalities, in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine especially.
European local and regional governments are also ready to accompany the European Union and their peers in partner countries (check for example at NALAG advocacy policy). Therefore, decentralised cooperation is an asset for EU policy in the EaP: it is a key tool for EaP municipalities and regions to benefit from the experience and expertise of EU peers in all these sectors which belong to the mandate of local and regional governments. This should be highlighted as such in the Communication.
Finally, the EU would also have a key role in assisting local governments in EaP countries to overcome post COVID economic difficulties, in the emergency and recovery phases.
Read the full reaction here.