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Catalonia and other nine leading European regions urge the EU to have more weight in decision-making

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Catalonia and other nine leading European regions urge the EU to have more weight in decision-making

  1. At the Leaders Meeting of the Fit for Future initiative, the main European regions have called on the Union to count on them when making decisions aimed at addressing the major challenges of the future.

Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Miquel Royo i Vidal, accompanied by the Government's Representative to the EU, Ignasi Centelles, participated today in Antwerp in the Leaders Meeting of the 'Fit for the Future' initiative, led by the government of Flanders and composed of ten leading territories in the European Union: Catalonia, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Baden-Württemberg, the Basque Country, Hauts-de-France, Lombardy, Lower Saxony, Upper Austria, Saxony, and Flanders.

This initiative was born in 2023 with the aim of strengthening interregional collaboration through the exchange of foresight initiatives and the exploration of territorial solutions to global challenges. Today's meeting, organized within the framework of the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council, marked the establishment of the initiative, and representatives signed a joint declaration calling for greater involvement of regions in EU decision-making.

In his intervention, Royo highlighted the importance of this declaration, stating that "we cannot be merely a critical voice, but a proactive one. This initiative is another step in this direction that we appreciate."

On the other hand, the secretary referred to Europe's resilience in changing times, pointing out two major problems at this moment: "national withdrawal from the European project and the re-centralization of processes in some member states." In this regard, Royo mentioned the consequences of this issue in Spain where, he said, "unfortunately, we have experienced the results, as in the case of the Next Generation funds."

Thus, the secretary advocated for governments closer to citizens "to actively participate in decision-making in the European Union." That is why he appreciated initiatives like that of Flanders, in line with others led by the Catalan Government such as Regions for EU Recovery, and expressed the desire that "the entire EU takes advantage of what our territories can contribute" to the European project.

At the meeting, led by Flanders Minister-President Jan Jambon, representatives of the different member governments participated. Specifically, Mª Ángeles Elorza Zubiria, Secretary-General of Foreign Affairs and the European Union of the Basque Government; Laurent Wauquiez, President of the Regional Council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes; Christine Haberlander, Vice Minister-President of Upper Austria; Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg; Daniel Leca, Fourth Vice-President of the Regional Council of Hauts-de-France; Mathias Weilandt, State Secretary of Saxony; Raffaele Cattaneo, Undersecretary of the Lombardy Region; and Matthias Wunderling-Weilbier, State Secretary of Lower Saxony, intervened.

Additionally, during the meeting, a message from the Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, was projected, who supported the initiative and committed to follow up on the conclusions of the declaration.

Fit for the Future: Counting on Regions as Key Allies

Today's Leaders Meeting marked the launch of the establishment of the 'Fit for the Future' initiative, where representatives of the different member territories signed a joint institutional declaration. This document, the result of nearly two years of work, reflects the conclusions of this foresight exercise period.

In the joint declaration, the regions urge European institutions and all involved actors to consider regions as key partners, to enrich European policymaking with a genuine regional perspective, and to strengthen the EU's multi-level governance system. The declaration also highlights the priorities of the participating regions for the EU Strategic Agenda 2024-2029.

Emphasizing the pivotal role of regions in the EU's success, leaders underscored their adherence to the EU project for peace and prosperity, advocating for a bottom-up approach prioritizing the well-being of citizens and businesses. Recognizing their collective economic significance, representing a quarter of the European GDP and trade, governments have committed to strengthening the EU's global competitiveness and addressing key challenges such as the digital and green transition, as well as economic security.

Furthermore, leaders have called for a closer partnership between European institutions and regions, advocating for the incorporation of regional perspectives into policymaking processes. They have proposed specific measures to achieve this, including better utilization of regional expertise, territorial impact assessments for EU policies, and increased dialogue between the EU and regional authorities.

On the other hand, they have highlighted the importance of strategic foresight analysis in promoting resilience and proposed initiatives to strengthen joint capacity in this area. These efforts aim to reinforce partnerships, identify synergies with existing regional initiatives, and establish key priorities for the EU's strategic agenda, focusing on deepening the single market, fostering innovation-friendly regulations, and advancing digitalization and sustainable trade policies.

The resulting document will be shared with European institutions, and Flanders Minister-President Jan Jambon will hold bilateral meetings with members of the European Commission to present the conclusions.



Membres de les delegacions dels governs integrants de Fit for the Future.

Membres de les delegacions dels governs integrants de Fit for the Future. 15810092

Signatura de la declaració conjunta.

Signatura de la declaració conjunta. 17149550