Guilherme Pinto, President of Efus, advocates the role of local authorities in EU security policies to the EU Committee of the Regions

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Pinto CoRBrussels, 7 April 2014 ­– Guilherme Pinto, President of Efus, advocated the role of local and regional authorities in EU security policies during a conference on 7 February in Brussels as part of the “structured dialogue” proposed by the Committee of the Regions (CdR) of the European Union to strengthen coordination between the Commission and local and regional authorities.

The Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External affairs (CIVEX) of the CdR invited Efus to help prepare an opinion of the Committee of the Regions on EU policies in the field of justice and Home Affairs.

Mr Pinto presented Efus’ position and called for the European Union to give greater recognition to the role played by local and regional authorities in its security policy. Although the work carried out by cities and regions on security issues is widely recognised, it is not sufficiently recognised in action programmes, lamented Mr Pinto. Similarly, the support Europe gives to security scarcely takes into account local authorities, he added.

Efus’ President emphasised that integrated policies that are based on prevention are rational and strategic, and that this is all the more important given the current economic crisis. He said that European institutions must be able to work on security issues with a view on the long term and focusing on prevention. However, European programmes are often sectorial and have a limited duration, which hampers the implementation of long term integrated policies, he added.

Mr Pinto also insisted on the need to improve the implementation of prevention policies, which must be based on scientific evidence. In this sense, the creation of a European observatory on crime would be a positive move, he said. He also insisted on the role that networks of cities and regions such as Efus can play to improve policies thanks to the exchange of experience and good practices.

Regarding security policies on the issue of migratory flows, Mr Pinto expressed doubts about any strategy that focusses primarily on “fortifying” borders. In accordance with Efus’ resolutions on this issue (Reggio Emilia October 2013, Malta March 2012 and Vienna February 2011), Mr Pinto called for the EU to put into practice true coresponsibility and solidarity among Member States and to support European cities that receive migrants.

Presided by António Costa, Mayor of Lisbon (member of Efus), the CIVEX Commission had invited to its 23rd session the European Commission and four European associations of cities and regions: Efus, Eurocities, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and the Network of Local and Regional Authorities for Integration. The rapporteur of the CIVEX Commission, Lotta Håkansson Harju, had already consulted Efus during a preliminary audition in February 2014.

The Committee of the Regions will attend Efus 2014 General Assembly in Karlsruhe (Germany), which will be focused on European security policies. Vice President of the CIVEX Commission, Barbara Duden will present the work carried by the CoR on European Home Affairs and Justice policies.