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CONSTITUTION SHOULD LIVE ON, ARGUES LGIB

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Greater influence for local government in Europe, enshrined in the proposed European constitution, should be fought...
Greater influence for local government in Europe, enshrined in the proposed European constitution, should be fought for even if the document is ditched.

That was the message from the Local Government International Bureau following the UK's decision to postpone a referendum on the constitution, and 'no' votes in France and the Netherlands.

The treaty was set to impose an obligation on the European Commission to consult local authorities more extensively.

It gave greater recognition to the role of the Committee of the Regions, the body that consults councils in Europe.

LGIB chair Ken Bodfish (Lab) said although local government has been consulted in the past, the constitution would embed that role.

The LGIB will lobby UK government to retain the role of local government, as outlined in the treaty, even if the document is thrown out.

Mr Bodfish said: 'We are concerned these positive proposals about embedding the role of local government should be retained. We don't care how they are retained.'

Mr Bodfish added that councils must 'combat the negativity towards Europe' and advocated a pragmatic approach.

He said: 'Local government needs to influence Europe in order to benefit citizens. Europe is not going to go away.'

As much as 70% of the day-to-day work of local government is influenced by European legislation. In particular, local environment legislation is based upon European legislation.

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