(Source: European Committee of the Regions)
Joint statement by Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Democracy and Demography, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, MEP, initiator of the BELC pilot-project.
We welcome the outcome of the Conference on the Future of Europe (COFE) and in particular the calls to create a system of local EU Councillors as a way to bring Europe closer to people in its regions, cities and villages and to improve European Democracy.
Working in close cooperation, the European Commission, the European Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament share the objective of engaging locally elected representatives in communicating about EU issues in their local area. Within this framework, the European Parliament proposed the project “Building Europe with Local Councillors (BELC)”, which will be implemented by the European Commission. This complements the Committee of the Regions’ EU Local and Regional Councillors’ Network created in 2021 that actively contributes to CoR activities by holding EU-related events in local and regional Councils and organising local debates with citizens.
Today – on the occasion of the launch of the call for applications for the BELC initiative – we agree to work together to ensure that these initiatives are as seamless as possible and are implemented as a coordinated ‘EU’ exercise. The Committee will ensure that its network of EU Councillors is made aware of the call for proposals of the BELC initiative. The Committee will include beneficiaries of the pilot-project in its dedicated program of thematic briefings and online events. The Commission will include materials adopted on behalf of regional and local authorities in its responses to beneficiaries. As members of the BELC network and/or of the CoR network, locally elected representatives will receive support in their local language for their communication activities towards citizens and local media. They will contribute to awareness raising about the EU.