A strong, efficient and united European Union is the best guarantee for peace, freedom and prosperity today and also in the future. European citizens want an EU, which meets their expectations and demonstrates added value through its problem-solving capacities. However, the way some crises have been handled has led to disappointed causing citizens to loose trust, confidence and enthusiasm in the European project.

People want a tangible EU that is delivering solutions in a transparent and accountable way. We, in the EPP Group in the CoR, know that reforms take time and slowly we see the measures that have been implemented are beginning to bear fruit. Yet, this is not enough. People want to have a real say on Europe.

A grassroots movement in view of the 2019 European Elections

The European People’s Party is the biggest political party in Europe, represented in 27 Member States at all levels of government; local, regional, national and European. United we stand strong. United we want to reach out to the people in Europe’s villages, towns, cities and regions. We believe in solidarity and we support a strong cohesion policy for all cities and regions to be implemented in partnership in order to boost investments, employment and sustainable development.

This is why the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions is launching an EPP grassroots engagement ahead of the 2019 European Elections, which listens to the people, works towards restoring confidence and increasing ownership of the EU project. Through a series of EPP local dialogues in all EU Member States, the EPP-CoR Group wants to pass on a message of “unity in diversity” under the motto “Europe starts in your village/city/region.” These events will be accompanied by three flagship events. Together with Bulgarian, Austrian and Romanian EPP parties, the aim is to organise the first local EPP dialogues in the Member States holding the Presidency of the EU in the coming months.

The launch of the EPP grassroots engagement will take place on 9 March 2018 in Sofia on the invitation of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, EPP President Joseph Daul and EPP/CoR President, Michael Schneider, and in the presence of more than 400 local mayors and regional politicians, members of the EPP Group of the European Parliament, members of the European Committee of the Regions and eminent guests from all over Europe. After the launch in Bulgaria, another high-level event is planned in Austria in December 2018. A Summit of Regional and Local Leaders, with the participation of the EPP Spitzenkandidat, is envisaged to be the highpoint of the engagement and should be organised in Romania in the first half of 2019, just before the European elections in May 2019. On this occasion, the fruits of the EPP local dialogues can be harvested to show our “Unity in diversity” and the EPP family strong support to our Spitzenkandidat.

What is expected from the EPP grassroots engagement?

This bottom-up initiative could provide a credible and sustainable platform for interaction on key issues related to the European reform agenda and the future of Europe.

The expected outcome of this initiative would be to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of the EP elections on 23-26 May 2019 and mobilise them to make an informed choice as EU citizens
  • put concrete good examples of projects implemented at the local and regional level by the EPP leaders; the outcomes of local dialogues will be presented to the EPP members of the two political assemblies of the EU: the Parliament and the Committee of the Regions
  • make sure that the local and regional dimension of EU politics is part of the EPP Manifesto for the 2019 Elections, and one of the political priorities of the EPP Spitzenkandidat
  • ultimately, the EPP local dialogues will not only offer the opportunity to address local challenges at the local level but also strengthen political subsidiarity and allow a better dialogue with people on areas which are often decided upon in Brussels or Strasbourg, but implemented in Europe’s cities and regions as is the case for over 70% of EU legislation.

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