2014/06/07

Good morning everybody,

 

      Firstly, I would like to thank the President Mr. Lin Ching-chang for inviting me to stay today with all of you. It is for me an honour attend this meeting to explain you, in a easily way, what is CALRE and its
meaning, whose Presidency I took up on last January (2014).

 

I would like to start from a broader view to a specific one in order to explain to you CALRE’s functioning.

 

       CALRE is the abbreviation of “Conference of Regional Legislative Assemblies of the European Union” and it is composed by 74 Regional Assemblies with legislative powers from 8 countries of the European Union which represents more than 200 million of inhabitants. The 8 countries are the following: Belgium , Germany,  Italy,  Austria,  Portuga,  UK,  Finland and Spain.

 

       The CALRE is composed by four main bodies and two subsidiarity bodies. The CALRE functioning is regulated by its internal statutes.

 

       The four CALRE's main bodies are : The Presidency ,  The Vice-presidency ,  the Standing Committee and the General Assembly.

 

        The Presidency : is the CALRE’s representative and has the power to make all necessary decisions concerning the implementation of the decisions of the association’s bodies. The mandate is for one year ,  is voluntary and it is elected by vote of the General Assembly.

 

        The Standing Committee : is formed by the President of the present Conference ,  the vice-president , one President per State and the Chairmen of the working groups. Under CALRE's Internal Rules, the Standing Committee meets a maximum of three times a year.

 

        The General Assembly : convenes once a year. In particular ,  this year will be held on 6th , 7th and 8th November at our Parliament and I take up this opportunity to invite you to attend our General Assembly.

 

The CALRE's subsidiarity bodies are : the General Secretary and the Working Groups.

 

         During the Presidency 2014, the CALRE have established five Working Groups, on topics of interest for CALRE and for its members, upon request of its Parliaments:

 

● The Working Group on Subsidiarity (standing group)
● The Working Group on Cohesion Policy
● The Working Group on e-Democracy
● The Working Group on Immigration
● The Working Group on territorial and environmental policies of the European Union


          The CALRE was founded by an act signed on 7 October 1997 in Oviedo, Spain, aiming to provide a more influential role of regional parliaments in the European legislative process.

 

          As a basis for the CALRE’s development ,  it was taken into account three statements focused on: the European parliament links with regional parliaments; the role of regional parliaments in the European Union policies and the subsidiarity principle.

 

Why?

 

           Because the European parliament plays an important role in the European legislative process, as it is co-legislator with the Council of the European Union, and in view of the European policies interfere,
increasingly, in the field of the regional parliaments' legislative powers. And, the Subsidiarity principle, as sets out in the article 5 of the European Union treaty, is the basic principle of the defense of proximity governance in the European Union. This principle is in charge of ensuring that decisions taken in Europe are taken at the closest level to its citizens. This involves that decisions taken at European level have to be justified in relation to the available possibilities at national, regional and local level. The European Union acts, except on its exclusive fields of power, just in case its action will be more effective than a national, regional or local action. This principle is closely linked to the proportionality principle whereby the European Union Action cannot exceed what is necessary to achieve the Treaties’ objectives.

For all this reasons, during its early years the CALRE focused its work on :

● Reinforce the relationship between the European parliament and the regional parliaments
● Defend the right of direct action before the Court of Justice of the European Union
● Defend a clear division of powers between different levels of power, from the lowest, the local and                regional level to the upper level, the European level, through the national level.
● Foster the regional parliaments with legislative power  participation in the European legislative process.
● Establish committees on European affairs in the regional parliaments.

  
         With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, some targets set concerning the subsidiarity principle have been reached. From this moment the regional parliaments obtained a greater role as
defenders of this principle at European level through the “Early Warning System”. This system allows them to tackle European initiatives at an early stage of the legislative process to determine whether or not violate the regional powers.

 

          Although, after the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, remained unaddressed another issues requested from the CALRE since its creation, as the right of direct action before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJUE). This right gives the power to appeal the Court of Justice of the EU for the defense of the violated rights by the European institutions. Nevertheless, this right was given to the committee of the Regions (European body representing the voice of local and regional authorities).

 

          Therefore, from 2009 the CALRE’s strategy has been addressed towards an adequate representativeness in the European institutions, moving their meetings to Brussels, institutional center and center of the European legislative process.

 

            Currently, we can also note as one the CALRE’s strategic action lines the request for a more representation of regional entities withlegislative capacity in the Committee of the Regions (CoR), the European body responsible for the representation of the sub-state government levels, as a departing point to claim the defense of its interest at European level.


             During the Presidency 2014, presidency which relies on my term of office, the CALRE’s annual working programme establish the following working guidelines:

 

● Reinforce CALRE's collaborations :
1.Boost a strong collaboration within CALRE members, as a forum for debate and exchange of experiences promoting closer ties between all CALRE partners.

 

2.Strengthen CALRE's cooperation with European institutions and bodies, like the Committee of the Regions, the European Commission and the European Parliament. The main target is to increase the visibility of the European regional facts, showing its strengths to the public service and to citizens’ participation.

 

3.Work with the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (FRA) in defense projects and rights’ studies, over all connected within the legislative level and citizens’ representation.

 

4.Maintain the links created with the associations representing regional and local entities, aiming to establish joint actions and, in particular, cooperate on the democratization guidelines of the Congress of regional and local powers of the Council of Europe.

 

5.Collaborate with the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, assessing the own legislation’s quality to strengthen fundamental rights.

 

● Subsidiarity principle :


1.Strength the monitoring of the subsidiarity principle as guarantee for an efficient implementation of European legislative initiatives.


2.Smart regulation and Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme aiming to analyze the effect of an excess of regulation (goldplanting) by Member States on shared competences with sub-national entities. The main target is to avoid the political and economic cost, generated by regulatory efficacy, falling on regions with legislative competencies. 


3.Enhance the full participation of regional parliaments in the EU legislative development process.

4.Crisis and post-2015 opportunity : the essential role of regional authorities in the decentralization process and decision making process as tool for sustainable development, citizens’ empowerment and fight against poverty.

 

5.Monitor the implementation process of the cohesion policy in the European Union which has special impact on regional and local authorities.

 

● Promote Parliamentarianism :


1.Elections to the European Parliament 2014, held last 25th May, have reinforced the need for the CALRE to contribute to involve citizens in this process in order to avoid high rates of abstention that make up European elections and thus, reinforce the European Union democratic legitimacy. Regional parliaments play, due to their proximity to citizens, an essential role in order to promote higher rates of participation on European affairs and to approach Europe to its citizens.

 

2.The regional parliament as a referent, the regional parliament as a need. The current update of the regional chambers will allow meet the new citizens’ exigencies about future actions with more expectations.

 

The CALRE and Europe reality

          The CALRE’s functioning depends on its Presidency, being of crucial importance to develop lobbying activities at European level. Thus, the CALRE stands as an axis of influence before different European institutions which are part of the European legislative process.

          From CALRE we are approaching the real Europe, an Europe which speaks and is not aggressive, an Europe which defends the use of the word of all member states, abandoning the idea of an old Europe of wars and disagreements. All European countries whichare part of the European Union constitute a space of peace, composed by communities which choose the dialogue and the market economy against the aggressions of the past.


          And therefore, I claim for the future of Europe and its institutions. In particular, the events that took place last months in the Europe eastern borders, is a living example which should make us reflect on the opportunity of the European integration process. We believe in more Europe as a symbol of peace.

 

The CALRE and ASIA

 

          To this extent, it must be highlighted the European Union (EU) strategy for Asia. This strategy underlines EU commitment to intensify all matters related to policy and security, commercial relations and
investment flows in both directions, the contribution to reduce poverty, boost the Human Rights protection, democracy, good governance and State of law, establish global alliances with the main Asian partners (on international forums and to tackle global challenges), and advocate EU knowledge in Asia and inversely.

 

          Regarding security and peace, the EU have to develop a more active role in regional forums, boost conflicts prevention sharing common experiences and intensifying the dialogue with Asia. The civil society momentum and the dialogue between Europa and Asia have to promote democracy, good governance and the State of law. These fields of action are a priority for the CALRE works and therefore, it is so important I am here today to boost the dialogue at regional level, from the governmental authorities closest to citizens and direct representatives of their interests.

 

          To conclude I would like to thank you once again for allowing me to approach you the CALRE and I remain at your disposal for any question may you arise concerning it. Moreover, I take up this opportunity to inform you about CALRE web page (www.calrenet. eu); there you will find more detailed and updated information.

Many thanks for your attention.

 

Introduction of the Taiwan Local Councils Representatives Community Forum (TCF)

 

● The TCF is located in Taipei City, Taiwan.


● There are five categories of membership:


             Local council member or incumbent councilor member that is approved as De facto members of the FCT, becomes De Facto Organization Member and De Facto Individual Member without paying the membership fee. Outgoing councilor member can become an Honorary Member. Those individuals or organizations who endorse the TCF could become an Individual Sponsor Member or an Organization Sponsor Member. An individual or organization sponsoring member will be divided into Diamond, Platinum and Gold grade depending on the value of the donation contributed.

 

● All members can participate in the activities organized by the TCF. Any incumbent councilor member who represents as a representative for the local council member to which he(she) belongs is entitled to the rights of election and the voting rights. All incumbent councilor members are entitled to the rights to be elected. Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Board of Supervisors that each becomes an outgoing councilor during the term of office can continuously hold office until the expiry of the term of office of that person's
predecessor.


● The term of office of President, Vice President and the Board of Supervisors is two years. The position of the President may not be re-elected, exclusive to the Vice President and the members of the Board of Supervisors. The first election was held at the headquarters of the TCF, Taipei City. The subsequent election basically will be held at each city from where the current President originates.

 

● In addition to an annual meeting which is held each year, special forums and seminars to discuss any issue of relevance to members may be called, at least once every three months. At that time, if needed, the President can simultaneously call on the Board of Supervisors to meet.


● The TCF has set up a website, newsletter issue, Facebook, LINE Discussion Group and e-mail database as social media for activities reports and member contact.


● The TCF periodically organizes workshops and elite training courses for councilor assistants and potential
councilors-to-be.


● All members shall pay registration fee for the activities organized by the TCF, unless the TCF otherwise requires. Except the funds from the governmental subsidies, the registration fees paid by the attendees will be used for the activity arrangements by the main organizer. The local council shall pay the registration fee for the representative who is assigned by the council to attend the activities. Each local council member shall decide whether or not subsidizing the registration fee for the De Facto Individual Member.


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