The member governments of the RLEG initiative met today in Bilbao to demand greater recognition for regions with legislative power in the European Union. The Bilbao Declaration was approved at the meeting, which calls for “more plural, open and participatory” European institutions. The RLEG is a European initiative promoted by the Basque Government, which organised the event at the Euskalduna Palace, and involved representatives of the governments of the Azores, Catalonia, Corsica, Flanders, the Åland Islands, the Balearic Islands, Madeira and the Valencian Community.
The Catalan Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, represented the Government of Catalonia at the event, which was also attended by the Basque President, the lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, and the Minister-President of Flanders, Jan Jambon. Serret declared that the RLEG is a “European initiative” that “strengthens the European project”. “Catalonia joins this political declaration in the conviction that there is a need to improve governance structures to ensure a greater role for regions with legislative powers”, she explained.
“Europe is facing climate, technological and demographic challenges that are common to us all, to which we need to respond with effective governance structures”, noted Serret, who stressed that “the best way to do this is by giving regions a greater role, deepening multi-level governance and advocating the principle of subsidiarity, as stated in the political declaration of the RLEG”. Faced with these global challenges, “we need a strong European Union more than ever”, she said, and emphasised that “through our participation, we strengthen the European project”.
Serret noted the need “to share, to cooperate, to jointly build the European Union” in order to “strengthen the European sentiment, values and democratic principles” and hence “create a more inclusive, more cohesive Europe in which we all feel represented”. “It is the only way for our citizens to see our governments and the European Union project as useful”, she said.
“In the European project”, said the Minister, “we advance when we reduce the democratic distance between EU citizens and their policies, when European institutions come up with solutions that improve the realities of their regions”.
The Minister for Foreign Action and European Union of the Government of Catalonia cited examples of cross-border cooperation such as the CTP and the CRPM, which, she said, “endorse us and demonstrate year after year that the regions are capable of managing European programmes and offering solutions that improve the lives of their citizens”. Serret also wanted to highlight the importance of the Regions 4 EU Recovery network for better governance of the management of NextGenerationEU funds, “in full harmony with the spirit of the RLEG network”.
The RLEG initiative
The RLEG initiative is a network of 17 European regional governments with legislative powers, many of which represent peoples or nations within their Member States. Members of the RLEG are strongly committed to European values and principles and work to guarantee effective multi-level governance in the European Union and to further improve the use of the decentralised dimension of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
The RLEG calls for greater recognition of regions with legislative powers in the European Union.