Committee of the Regions President Michel Delebarre has welcomed the recognition given to regions and local authorities in the Berlin Declaration and to the support expressed by the Presidents of the European Commission and European Parliament for subsidiarity and local autonomy.
Adopted by EU heads of State and government on 25 March, at celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the Berlin Declaration includes a clear reference to the role of regions and local authorities in the EU decision-making process: it notes that " tasks are shared between the European Union, the Member States and their regions and local authorities" and states that the EU is "enriched by open borders and a lively variety of languages, cultures and regions".
Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso echoed this in his speech in Berlin, saying: " A real partnership is where European institutions respect diversity and national governments promote unity. That's why we need the community method and subsidiarity." European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering, meanwhile, underlined the need for greater local autonomy.
"I am very satisfied that the Berlin Declaration takes up some of key themes addressed in our own Declaration for Europe, signed in Rome on 23 March," said CoR President Delebarre. "The Committee of the Regions appreciates the inclusive approach taken by the German Presidency and, in particular, its reference to the shared nature of decision-making in Europe and the need to preserve identities and diversity."
President Barroso and President Pottering both took part in the CoR's celebration in Rome to mark Europe's 50th birthday.