There is a need to take full account of the local authorities in the process of constructing European strategies such as those for the 2020 period. Above all, European policies are being primarily rolled out in local areas, which must no longer be ignored.
These policies are implemented for the EU's citizens, who are much closer to their local authorities than the EU institutions in terms of understanding and therefore applying these policies.
The Lisbon Treaty which recently came into effect has now given local government a central role in the construction of Europe. It has reaffirmed the need to implement the subsidiarity principle in practice.
The February 2010 Eurobarometer on EU public opinion revealed that the EU public considers local level to be the level with the greatest impact on their living conditions. Moreover, two out of three Europeans (66%) believe that local authorities are not sufficiently taken into account in the process of framing policies within the EU.
For all these reasons, it was appropriate for the CoR, which represents the interests of all tiers of local government, to get involved in the consultation procedure on the EU 2020 strategy.
Nonetheless, the CEPLI regrets that the title of this CoR consultation refers to regions and cities only. There is in fact an urgent need to recognise the vital role played by local intermediate authorities within the various tiers of local government.
It is no longer possible to advocate a role for local government within the system of European governance whilst systematically ignoring a whole political level, that of local intermediate authorities.