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Santiago de Compostela / 21 July 2001 / EN

The future of Europe

Santiago Declaration

With the single market and the establishment of an economic and monetary union, the economic integration of Europe is almost complete. Now it is necessary to draw up clear proposals for a political union. The task facing us is to design a political union of twenty seven or more Member States. A clear allocation of powers, tasks and responsibilities between the various levels of government in Europe is essential. For reasons of political transparency and economic efficiency this allocation of powers should comply with the principles of transparency, proximity and subsidiarity. The citizen must know who is responsible for what in Europe, and what the procedures are. Strengthening the role of the Committee of the Regions

The EPP:

  • Calls for recognition of its institutional legitimacy, its specific function as representative of all regional and local players and its political role in the debate on the future of the Union. The Committee should be formally empowered to participate, as a full member, in the deliberations of the body to be entrusted with the task of preparing the 2004 intergovernmental conference;
  • Considers that it should be formally instructed to make a specific contribution on the question of the allocation of powers;
    Asks that, in the future European architecture, the role played by the Committee and the regional and local authorities in Europe be re-assessed in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity;
  • Considers that the regional and local authorities should be involved in decision-making at European level and in the implementation of European legislation;
  • Believes that, in order to increase its influence on the European decision-making process, the Committee should be granted more powers, going beyond its consultative role;
  • Suggests that, when a decision of the Union is not demonstrably in the interests of the regions and local authorities, the Committee should be empowered to suspend implementation of the decision for a limited period and, where necessary, to bring an action before the Court of Justice for abrogation of the decision;
  • Considers it necessary, therefore, that it be given institutional status, and the right to bring actions before the Court of Justice in defence of its prerogatives in the event of breach of the subsidiarity principle;
  • Asks that the European Commission and the Council be obliged to state their reasons for taking account of the Committee’s opinions, or not as the case may be;
  • Asks that it be empowered to submit written questions to the European Commission;
  • Considers that the establishment of a new Union institution based on national parliaments is neither appropriate nor necessary; if an additional chamber were to be set up alongside the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, however, it should be based on the Committee of the Regions and, consequently, be made up of representatives of the regional and local authorities;
  • Asks that a participation mechanism be established enabling the Committee to be involved as an active member in the work of the informal Councils, particularly those dealing with areas in which consultation of the Committee is mandatory and which directly concern the powers of the regional and local authorities.
  • Subsidiarity principle and allocation of powers

The EPP:

  • Affirms that a bottom-up approach must be adopted to the construction of Europe;
  • Notes that subsidiarity means that decisions are to be taken at the level which is as close as possible to citizens;
  • Considers that the subsidiarity principle, which must guide the detailed allocation of powers within the European Union, should not only be seen in terms of the relationship between the European and national levels but should also take account of the regional and local levels. The Committee asks, in this connection, that Article 5 of the ECT be reworded and that specific mention be made of the regional and local authorities;
  • Is convinced that Europe should restrict itself to key tasks which can be dealt with only, or at least much more efficiently, at European level;
  • Considers that a renationalisation of certain common policies could mean a significant retreat from European integration and could imperil the economic and social cohesion of an enlarged Union;
  • Confirms in this respect its favourable positions on agriculture, notably on vegetable-based animal feed;
  • Points out that subsidiarity must go hand-in-hand with proximity. Through its regions and local communities, Europe must bring European government closer to citizens;
  • Points out that Europe needs its regions and regional and local autonomy in order to safeguard its identity in a globalised world, understands the worries – underlined particularly by young people – referring to the negative side of the globalisation, but strongly rejects any violent reaction;
  • Points out that Europe must preserve the vitality of its regions which have been its strength over the centuries;
  • Welcomes the fact that the regions with legislative powers have made clear their expectations with regard to strengthening of the role of the Committee in the decision-making process and its recognition as a full institution with political powers going beyond a purely consultative role;
  • Considers that the Committee, as the only political body recognised by the Treaties as representing the regions and local authorities of Europe, should act as spokesman for the interests of all the regions in the body entrusted with the task of preparing the next intergovernmental conference scheduled for 2004.
  • Citizens at the centre of the Union

The EPP:

  • Affirms that future developments in the European Union must always be guided by the principles of liberty and human dignity;
  • Reiterates CoR desires for the establishment of a Union at the service of citizens which protects and promotes common European values;
  • Stresses its desire to be the spokesman for citizens in the debate on the future of the European Union;
  • Affirms the essential role of the European political parties in enabling European Union citizens to participate in building their common future;
  • Supports a constitutional initiative for the drawing up of a single text bringing together all the European Union Treaties without division into pillars;
  • Considers that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union proclaimed at the Nice European Council should be integrated into the future text and made binding;
  • Stresses the need to explain the operation of the European Union to citizens by means of information campaigns (radio, press, television and Internet), and calls on the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament to support its efforts at providing public information.


The EPP:

  • Welcomes the positive approach of the European Commission in attempting to close the gap between European citizens and their institutions;
  • Wishes the European, national, regional and local authorities to cooperate harmoniously, sharing their administrative responsibilities in accordance with the constitutional arrangements existing in each Member State;


The EPP:

  • Points out that enlargement is a process linked to the political will of the fifteen Member States of the European Union and the result of historical circumstances; it offers us a unique opportunity to unite the whole European continent in peace, democracy, liberty and justice;
  • Reaffirms its commitment to the continuation and acceleration of the enlargement negotiations between the European Union and the applicant countries, on the basis of the Copenhagen criteria;
  • Stresses the important role which the regional and local authorities of the Member States and the applicant countries can play in encouraging constructive dialogue with citizens in order to implement their confidence in the Union and its operation;
  • Supports all developments promoting devolution and the improvement of regional and local government in the applicant countries.