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COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS 'UNREALISTIC'

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Members of the Committee of the Regions are too ambitious in their plans to upgrade themselves into an executive bo...
Members of the Committee of the Regions are too ambitious in their plans to upgrade themselves into an executive body with legislative powers, according to Rosemary McKenna, president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

Speaking at a CoR 'one year on' conference last week, Ms McKenna attacked suggestions that regions could mount legal challenges to the European Union over alleged breaches of subsidiarity rules.

'It is likely to frighten off other European institutions, particularly the parliament which should be a natural ally,' she said.

Instead Ms McKenna outlined her own 'more realistic' set of aims for the CoR. These included:

- Extending the principle of subsidiarity downwards to all levels of government

- Recognising the rights and autonomy of regional and local government in the Maastricht Treaty

- Giving local government in Scotland the right to elect its own members to the CoR

- Providing councils with a greater and more formal role in the structural fund partnerships

At the same conference, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, Scottish Office minister for Europe, said it was 'still early days to reach a definitive judgment' on the progress of the CoR.

In defence of the constitution, Lord Carmyllie said Scotland had five CoR members.

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