On the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and with the expansion of the European Union to 27 members, it is time to reassert that a Europe of the states can only be built and developed by drawing on the diversity of its territories and through their local authorities.
The Treaty of Lisbon opened a new phase in the process of European construction. Recognition of the subsidiarity principle, local autonomy, diversity and regional cohesion as the principles of the European Union, will contribute toward reasserting the role and place of local authorities in defining and implementing European policies.
In the context of globalisation, we need to build a much stronger political, social, economic and cultural Europe. In this development, the place of local authorities, and more particularly that of intermediary local authorities, will be a determining factor. Our collective responsibility is also to now support the evolution of the people's Europe.
Since its creation, the cohesion policy has given the territories decisive access to Europe by enabling local authorities to participate in the European Union area integration project beyond national frameworks.
Our intermediary local authorities play a key role in this process in each member state. On this basis, they have been able to bring their interventions within the various strategic frameworks of the European Union. As such, their contribution must be highlighted and recognised by the European Union.
Located across the European Union area, they hold a specific position and have common characteristics that, over the course of time, have proved particularly suited to achieving objectives for European social, economic and regional cohesion.
Our collective responsibility is also to now support the evolution of the people's Europe. The territories and their local authorities are now capable of providing access to Europe for its citizens.