The Europe We Need. The Europe We Want. A better Europe.
Poznan Manifesto of EPP regional and local leaders in view of the 2014 European Union’s new political mandate
We need a European Union with a heart and with a soul. We want a European Union that listens and understands. We want a European Union that decides and acts for the benefit of all its citizens, wherever they live and work, wherever they are coming from. All across the European Union and regardless their nationality, citizens feel strongly attached to the village, city and region they live and work in. The vital needs of people are determined by the specificity of their places of living. These human, spatial and democratic settings require harmonized policy actions that take into account the territorial dimension of the EU and its national, regional or local level of governance. The EU works tirelessly to find solutions to society’s problems and to boost growth and jobs by connecting Europe, by believing in Europe’s people and by investing in Europe’s regions.
We need decisions to be taken at levels closest to the citizens. We want to find the best solutions while ensuring a full democratic legitimacy, where cities and regions have a say and their voice transforms values into facts that matter to people. The European Union must bring a clear added value, and citizens have the right to know who is responsible for what. This means that we need a Europe where cities, regions and member states are working hand in hand using the multilevel governance principle. This is why the EU must become active and devoted in those areas that are best dealt with at the EU level, and spend less energy in those areas which are better dealt with on national, regional and local level. The EU has to be bigger on the big things and smaller on the small things. This is in tune with our EPP political family’s emphasis on subsidiarity: to address every problem at the best level and as closely as possible to the citizens.
We need the respect of the EU’s most important values: democracy, the rule of law, freedom, human rights, accountability solidarity, and equality. We want a new decentralized EU communication as it is the most effective way to reach the citizens and to fight against euroscepticism and populism. We want a young generation that is passionate about Europe. Fundamental values are the basis for a strong decision making in the European Union. They should be understood as the models to be defended and promoted inside and outside the EU. We need to be more courageous and clear in explaining European policies. Citizens should know who was responsible for the financial crisis. Europe did not cause the biggest financial and economic crisis in the last decades, but on the contrary was joining forces, providing solidarity and fighting strongly to overcome it. Those who are blaming the EU are wrong and we must tell it! When explaining its values and policies, the EU should involve people, try to generate new ideas and build shared commitments to put them into practice. Likewise, regional and local authorities could further promote Europe to the young people and children including through the introduction of compulsory classes of European affairs in primary and secondary schools.
We need a European Union that facilitates the conditions for social welfare, economic sustainable growth and competitiveness for all. We want the strong, the weak and the poor to be taken on board in order to increase the cohesion across Europe. Cohesion policy is the main EU investment tool to improve the quality of life for all citizens and contributes substantially to sustainable growth and jobs. The fostering of cohesion should enable member states, regions and cities to make the best use of investment opportunities, according to their own needs. This is to enhance competitiveness and reduce social and economic disparities between regions lagging behind and those at the forefront. Cohesion policy is also supporting the goals of Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs. The future cohesion and the new rural development policy must increase the additional use of public and private investments and focus on jobs and growth, innovation, SMEs, renewables and energy efficiency while ensuring a harmonious and integrated development of urban and rural areas.
We need an EU that strengthens social market economy. We want a public sector that facilitates viable business initiatives. We have to strongly support young people to develop fully their potential and to promote young entrepreneurship. In their daily life, citizens call on all political leaders to facilitate new job opportunities and new competitive businesses. Young people must be encouraged to become entrepreneurs especially within small and medium-sized enterprises. The EU needs to better support the work done by regional authorities to improve the synergies between research, education and market competitiveness. Moreover, in a changing societal environment, we must help family members with performant public services and an easy access to schools and hospitals. Moreover, people demand that growing demographic challenges be tackled properly, they want a better increase of job opportunities and social security.
We need better coordination of all levels of government and synergies and complementarities of all public budgets. We want an effective, inter-connected and innovative public administration at EU, national, regional and local level. Economic recovery and job creation are objectives that can be better reached with a leading role for regional and local authorities since they implement up to 70% of the EU legislation and contribute with two thirds of the public direct investments in the European Union, while a big part of public investments comes from the Structural and Investment Funds. Better quality public spending is needed, as well as an increased inter-operability of public administrations across the EU. Support to public investments is more important in times of crisis, since a large number of regions have limited access to traditional lending sources due to a reduction in their credit rating and increase in the regions’ indebtedness.
We need a political European Union working in partnership with its regions as citizens trust highly their regional and local political leaders. The European People’s Party wants a strong position of the regions as key actors in the EU to respond to the vital need for better law-making, to strengthen European democracy and to reduce its democratic deficit. Regional and local authorities play important economic, cultural and social roles, sometimes going beyond the administrative borders of their member states. The EPP is the political family represented the most throughout European cities and regions and we see the promotion of the regional and the local authorities as an added value for a further European integration. The EPP supports the contribution of the Committee of the Regions as a political assembly and as an institutional body of the EU that defends the interests of regions and cities throughout the legislative process.
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