Finance & Governance Commission

Local and Regional Authorities – Essential Actors in Implementing Good European Governance

Governance is one of the main keys to the success of the process of European integration. Europe will be strong, its institutions legitimate, its policies effective, and its citizens feeling involved and engaged if its mode of governance guarantees cooperation between the different tiers of government, in order to implement the Community agenda and meet the global challenges.

Multilevel governance actually serves the fundamental political objectives of the European Union: a Europe of citizens, economic growth and social progress, sustainable development, and the role of the European Union as a global player. It reinforces the democratic dimension of the European Union and increases the efficiency of its processes.

1. Building Europe in partnership

The challenge of multilevel governance is to ensure that there is a complementary balance between institutional governance and partnership-based governance. The development of political and administrative culture in the European Union must therefore be encouraged and stimulated.

Multilevel governance mean coordinated action by the European Union, the Member States and local and regional authorities, based on partnership and aimed at drawing up and implementing EU policies. Is also a process for integrating the objectives of local and regional authorities within the strategies of the European Union.

In 2001, the European Commission identified five principles underpinning good governance, namely: openness, participation, responsibility, effectiveness and coherence. Multilevel governance ensures that these principles are implemented, maintained and enhanced.

2. Encouraging participation in the European process by:

  • 2.1. Strengthening institutional representation
  • 2.2. Organizing political cooperation
  • 2.3. Stimulating participatory democracy

European citizenship is built, and European governance is based, on participation. Good European governance actually requires the elected authorities and civil society actors to cooperate for the common good. Multilevel governance presupposes the existence of mutual loyalty between all the various levels of government and the institutions to reach common goals.

Interparliamentary cooperation is gradually becoming a vital component of democratic legitimacy and of the process of drafting European legislation. Regional parliaments and regional legislative assemblies will be able to play a part in appraising the application of the subsidiarity principle.

By recognising the contribution of territorial governance and decentralised cooperation, international and European institutions have in recent years strengthened the role of local and regional authorities in global governance.