On behalf of the European Alliance group congratulations President Michel on your hard work, energy and enthusiasm.
On this St Patrick’s Day, my City Council in Cork has projected onto an old concrete grain silo in my port area an old Irish proverb. It runs –
“ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine” – which means – it is in each others shadows we live – which invokes the sense of community and interdependence.
And it is clear in our context today that both the member state and the local and regional authority both live in each shadows and both are dependent on each other.
Consistently the COR asks to be partner with the European Council and seeks to bring the idea of community back to the top table in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Many of the priorities and challenges you regularly outline in your briefings are common challenges for the over 95,000 local and regional authorities across Europe.
Whether you are in Cork or Corsica; Namur to Naples we have a common purpose and this is delivering for the better good of those we represent.
It is my firm belief that Cities and regions and concepts of multi-level governance also need to be to the heart of the priorities, and passionate narrative and story outlined by you at numerous times in the past and reiterated by you today.
The CoR is a strong asset of Team Europe. We are more than just the opinions we produce. We are on the frontline in building the future of Europe.
We are the story builders, strategy builders, the capacity builders. We build ideas from scratch and bring them to life. We are more than the sum of our parts. If you empower the Regions the EU will be a success.
Cities and Regions must be to the heart of the delivery process and the CoR will continue to collaborate with the other EU institutions in the delivery of this vision,
albeit we wish for our work, the opportunities that go with such work, and the strong added value connected to such work, to be recognised more by those, who lead the European Project forwards.
My final point is on Communication. The current pandemic has turned our world upside down over the past year. Now more than ever how we need to inform people that what the EU is delivering is crucial.
To conclude it is in each others shadows we live, but it’s how those shadows blend together to create solidarity, to celebrate diversity and ultimately showing that the European project is leaving no one behind – that are all crucial in the Europe of today.
Go raibh maith agat / thank you.