Question: “Hello. Aurélien from Villeurbanne. I would like to know what is the added value of the help given by the regions of Europe to get out of the crisis? Thank you.”
Answer: Annemarie Jorritsma, Mayor of Almere in the Netherlands, and co-president of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions:
“As co-chairperson of the European Organisation of Local Authorities, I would say that we use three words: democracy, decentralisation, and innovation.
“Democracy means letting citizens also share in what we have to do and in what we don’t have to do. As it is to decentralisation, let national and European governments give us our own budget
so we can take our own decisions. And as for innovation, well we need citizens to think about new ways to deal with public demands.
“As it is about the crisis itself and the local level, we’re close to citizens, we’re close to small and medium sized companies… We can ask them:
What do you need to flourish? And for instance for
medium and small companies most of the time it’s local government regulations, it’s about the prices they have to pay, it’s all kind of things where we can assist them. And of course it’s very important to stimulate young people to start new companies. If the crisis is to be solved, it’s always done by new companies.
“I think that we have the knowledge, we have the experience and we have the means – if it is about the money, not always – but means is also knowledge, it is also let’s say the area where you can play, it’s bringing people together and that’s what local governments are very good in and can be even better if they get a little bit more space.
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