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LOCAL GOVERNMENT CALLS FOR A EUROPE BUILT FROM THE BOTTOM

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Scottish local government supports openness, accessibility and an understanding of the processes as ways of making ...
Scottish local government supports openness, accessibility and an understanding of the processes as ways of making the European Union and it institutions more effective.

This was the message in a joint response with the Scottish executive to a European Union consultation on major reforms of how the EU is run.

Welcoming the commission's initiative, Fife Council leader Christine May, speaking on behalf of Cosla, said: 'The key to making Europe work for people lies in involving local communities in the decisions which affect their daily lives.

'It is time to stop making a scapegoat out of the European Commission,

whatever sphere of government we are in, our actions are inextricably linked and most of our decisions are complementary. It is up to us to make our voters aware of this.

'Cosla sees a genuine attempt underway at the moment to open up the decision-making processes of the EU.

'There is an onus not only on the European Commission to bring about positive changes but it is equally important that the Council of Ministers is open to change, particular in terms of increasing transparency.

'The 15 governments in the Council of Ministers make the final decisions on EU legislation and the European Commission increasingly takes its lead from the summits of prime ministers of the EU countries.'

Cllr May then went on to highlight the importance of the joint response from the executive and local government, speaking from a common platform and securing influence for Scotland in a time when regional interests are gaining more importance in EU decision making.

Deputy first minister Jim Wallace added: 'It is vital that we look at ways in which the European Union and its institutions can become more effective and I am pleased to publish this response today.

'The EU has achieved a considerable amount since the day, over 50 years ago, that Robert Schuman first presented his proposals for the European Coal and Steel Community, and continues to deliver very real day-to-day benefits for all the citizens of Europe.'

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