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    Statement from the CoR members of the Subsidiarity Task Force following the appointment of its members

    We welcome the appointment of the “Task Force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality” members, which marks the launch of its work. The Task Force should particularly consider ways to strengthen the involvement of local and regional authorities in the design and implementation of European policies.
    Subsidiarity should be seen as a means of designing a Europe that works better and which pursues a commitment to Europe shared by all levels of governance, as stressed by the Rome Declaration in March 2017.

    The reflection on subsidiarity cannot, however, endorse Europe’s disengagement in the field of regional development, as envisaged in Scenario 4 of the Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe.

    We advocate a Europe that is closer to its citizens and that is able to provide itself with the means to match its ambitions. It is with this in mind that we will contribute to the work of the Task-Force.

                         

    from left to right: François Decoster, Karl-Heinz LambertzMichael Schneider, European Committee of the Regions Task Force Representatives
     
     
    Source: European Committee of the Regions (CoR)

    Salzburg CoR representative draws up statement for Bulgarian EU Council Presidency

    Franz Schausberger appointed as general rapporteur:

    On the basis of his recognized expertise in the area of the enlargement countries of the Western Balkans, the representative of Salzburg in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), former governour Franz Schausberger, appointed general rapporteur by the CoR President. The Bulgarian Presidency had asked the CoR for an opinion on the EU integration process of the Western Balkans.

    Bulgaria has made “The Future of the Western Balkans” a priority of its EU Presidency and wants to develop a clear and concrete vision as well as a clear plan of action – without false promises, without false hopes, but with a good perspective. The EU integration of the countries of the Western Balkans (Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo) is clearly in Bulgaria’s interest.

    The focus of Schausberger’s statement will be on the extent to which the regions, towns and municipalities in the Western Balkan countries are able to play a decisive role in the enlargement process. With the emphasize on the principle of subsidiarity and the need for decentralization as well as regional and local cross-border cooperation in the Western Balkan countries, focus of the upcoming Austrian Council Presidency of the EU will also be taken up.

    Franz Schausberger discussed on 15. 01. 2018 his statement on the Western Balkans with Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn.

    Schausberger, who is also the chairman of the CoR’s Western Balkans Working Group and Special Advisor to the European Commission for the enlargement countries to Commissioner Hahn, will deliver his statement at the EU-Western Balkans Summit on 17th of May 2018 in Sofia to the representatives of the EU and the heads of government of the Western Balkans countries.

    The municipalities Berkovići, Teslić and Ugljevik join the IRE network

    The new year starts with the accession of Bosnian municipalities:

    The IRE network will continue to grow in 2018 with the accession of three Bosnian communities. On 13thof December 2017, Franz Schausberger personally welcomed the Mayor of Ugljevik, Vasilije Perić, Teslić’s Mayor Milan Milićević and the President of the Assembly of Berkovići, Stefan Muratović (representing Mayor Nenad Abramović). The delegation was accompanied by IRE Advisory Board member Jugoslav Jovicić.

    During this meeting, Franz Schausberger pointed out that this was the first time that the three municipalities had come together in this context to become more open to Europe by supporting the IRE network. “Today’s signing of the delegation to co-operate with the IRE will enable the Institute to support these communities and connect them with other IRE network members,” emphasized Schausberger. An IRE membership not only forms a future partnership, but also includes a tailor-made cooperation concept including integration into the Europe-wide IRE network. Furthermore, possible joint projects were discussed that are in favor of these communities.

    From left to right: Jugoslav Jovicić (IRE-Advisory Board Member), Vasilije Perić (Mayor of Ugljevik), Franz Schausberger (IRE-Chairman), Milan Milićević (Mayor of Teslić), Stefan Muratović (President of the Assembly of Berkovići) and Joachim Fritz (IRE-General Secretary)

    6th volume of the Occasional Papers 2017 has been published

    Recent publication of the IRE:

    With the sixth volume of the Occasional Papers, the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) presents once again a new collection of papers on current political issues in European regions. The contributions were written by students from various countries during their scientific internship at the IRE. With great commitment, they took the opportunity to examine interesting questions in a short time, some of which deal with political problems in their home countries. This resulted in a productive perspective between “insider knowledge” and distanced estimation from further away.
     
    The articles cover the following topics:

    • Europäische Integrations-und Migrationsprozesse
      • Die Regionen Europas als Akteure im europäischen Integrationsprozess Georg Prem
      • Europäische Städte als Akteure in der Europäischen Migrationspolitik am Beispiel des Netzwerkes der ‘Solidarity Cities’ Camilla Sophie Schritt
      • Land-und Stadtflucht in Österreich und Tschechien Julia Schmidlechner
    • Bosnien-Herzegowina: Reformen und künftige Generationen
      • Der aktuelle Stand hinsichtlich einer Verfassungsreform in Bosnien und Herzegowina Manuel Glattbach
      • Youth Unemployment Crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina Jake Ryan
    • Die Bedeutung der Regionen in politischen Prozessen
      • Die strukturell-politischen Verhältnisse Albaniens auf Regional-und Kommunalebene Edgar Subak
      • Grenzüberschreitende regionale Kooperationen im europäisch-russischen Grenzgebiet Sophie Marlen Jenerwein
    • Regional and local elections in Central-, Eastern- and Southeastern Europe
    • Kommentare Franz Schausberger
    Occasional Papers Nr. 6/2017, ISBN-Nr: 978-3-902557-18-6
    (7,00 € + Shipping Costs)
    Orders are warmly accepted under: office@institut-ire.eu

    Strong signal of local democracy: 2018 local elections in at least 15 European countries

    Survey of the IRE:

    Local democracy in Europe will pipe up in 2018. In at least 15 European countries – as far as known – municipal councils and partly mayor elections are carried out. Additionally, local elections in individual cities and communities, will certainly take place outside the regular local elections. This resulted out of a survey by the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE).
    The diversity of provisions on local elections in different European countries also contributes to the diversity of the whole continent and is justified by the historical, geographic, political differences and therefore needs to be maintained, stated the Chairman of the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE), Franz Schausberger.
    Practically in all countries, trust in local politics and their political representatives is many times higher than in the state level. Henceforth, it is important everywhere to strengthen the local level and local administrations.

    Source: Survey of the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE)

    Austria’s Government Program is a positive foundation for more efficient and citizen-closer EU

    IRE Chairman Franz Schausberger:

    It is utterly positive that the work program of the new Federal Government in Austria has not only made a clear commitment to the European Union, but also concretely places the principle of subsidiarity at the heart of the further development of the EU, stated today the Chairman of the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE), Univ. Prof. Dr. Franz Schausberger. This includes the decentralization of responsibilities at national, regional and local levels and consequently clearly against a centralized EU. Additionally, he added that it is particularly pleasing that the new Federal Government will work to ensure that the EU focuses on the essential issues in the future, as proposed in scenario 4 of the White Paper of the Future of Europe (“Less, but more efficient”). As a matter of course, the subsidiarity principle should not only apply between the EU and the Member States, but also include the regions, cities and municipalities.
     
    Subsequently, it is important to support the organization of a separate EU Convention, which should prepare Austria’s contribution to a European subsidiarity pact as well as leads to greater proximity to citizens in the EU. For this, the Institute of the Regions of Europe would like to make constructive suggestions, said Schausberger.

    Funding for cohesion policy should on no account be cut beyond 2020

    “The areas covered by cohesion policy are becoming more demanding and the expectations in it are getting higher”, said Franz Schausberger, representative of the Land Salzburg in the CoR, speaking at the occasion of a conference entitled “EU Finances and the Future of Europe local view” in Brussels on 5th of  December 2017.
          

    From left: Marek Woźniak (Marshal of Wielkopolska Region), Günther Öttinger (Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources), Michael Schneider (President of the EPP and rapporteur on the Future of Cohesion Policy beyond 2020), Tomislav Donchev (Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria), Lilyana Pavlova (Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency) and Jan Olbrycht (Vice-Chair of the EPP-EP Working Group on Budget and Structural policies)

     
    To respond effectively to the phenomenon of dramatic rural depopulation across Europe, cohesion policy must continue unabated, even after the end of the current period of 2020. Subsequently, an urgent need to significantly improve the capacities and know-how of regional and local politics and administration is substantial. Furthermore, for Member States it is essential, in cooperation with their regions and local authorities, to develop development strategies as the basis for successful EU projects. The EU would need to reduce the bureaucracy required to obtain financial support, simplify procedures and avoid duplication of checks and controls.
     
    Günther Oettinger, EU-Commissioner for budget and human resources, emphasized that he wants to set new priorities in the areas of research, Erasmus and in the future and the young generation in addition to the previous priorities of cohesion policy. The new tasks in the field of migration and the Brexit failures should not be financed by cuts in cohesion policy.

                                            

    Josip Brkic (Deputy Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Franz Schausberger
     

    The difficult issue of the reform of the electoral law of Bosnia and Herzegovina was the focus of a conversation between Deputy Foreign Minister Josip Brkic and Franz Schausberger, Chairman of the Western Balkan Working Group of the European Committee of the Regions, in Brussels on 5th of December. BiH will hold election at all levels in October 2018. Until then, the election law has to be changed according to the constitution of BiH.
     
                            

    Lufti Haziri (Mayor of Gjilan, Kosovo) with Franz Schausberger
     

    On 5th of December IRE-president Franz Schausberger met Lufti Haziri, Mayor of Gjilan, Kosovo. Mr. Haziri informed about his initiative to create a transborder municipal cooperation project between the cities Kumanovo (Macedonia), Trgovište (Serbia), Preševo (Serbia) and Giljan (Kosovo). This cooperation should lead to a transborder micro region.

    Source: Landeskorrespondenz Salzburg 

    Nationalists in Corsica clearly won the second round of regional elections

    Election winners demand more autonomy, but no secession

    More than 119,107 Corsicans cast their votes in the regional election on 10th of December 2017, in which 63 assembly members were elected. The turnout was 52.5 percent, in the first round 52.1 percent.

    In the first round of the regional elections, the national alliance list “Pè a Corsica” (For Corsica) was clearly in the lead with 45 percent. In the second and decisive round of the election on the French Mediterranean island, the list won clear with 56.5 percent. Thus, the list reached 41 of the 63 seats.

    From left: Gilles Simeoni (Femu a Corsica) and Jean-Guy Talamoni (Corsica Libera)

    The candidates of the Alliance partiy, Gilles Simeoni (“Femu a Corsica” – Let’s create Corsica), under which the list is run and Jean-Guy Talamoni (“Corsica Libera” – Free Corsica), celebrated their electoral victory on the French Mediterranean island. The nationalist parties are seeking greater autonomy for Corsica, but do not want complete detachment from France. Additionally, they demand equal recognition of the Corsican language in addition to French, recognition of a Corsican residence status in the fight against real estate speculation from abroad, and an amnesty for inmates who they regard as political prisoners.

                                       

    Source: zeit.de, wikipedia.org and skywebforum.com

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