Bratislava, March 2 (TASR) – The European Union (EU) and Slovakia as a member state should listen to the problems that trouble people and resolve them at the local level, instead of shifting further powers to the Union, said MEP Miriam Lexmann in a discussion on TASR TV in the context of economic issues that are being addressed by the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE).
According to Lexmann, Slovakia should provide more powers and money to local groups – regions, towns and villages.
“The EU has introduced a system of local action groups. [They] should include representatives of the business sector, municipalities, local self-governments and NGO representatives. These can come up with projects,” said Lexmann, but Slovakia is following the opposite trend in this. Instead of expanding the scope of operation for local groups, the state is narrowing it.
However, some problems cannot be resolved centrally. People from below know the problems best and know best what would help them in the given area,” stated Lexmann, adding that Slovakia might be inspired by foreign countries. For example, local action groups in the Czech Republic have access to the European Social Fund (ESF), and, thanks to this, they are able to address acute social problems faced by local people at the local level, where it is really needed.
According to the World Bank, there are some 450,000 people in Slovakia who might fall into poverty next year. If the state simply waits to deal with the consequences, such as unemployment and the inability to earn enough to sustain families, it will be too late, and the state will definitely spend more, warned Lexmann.
The CoFoE will collect people’s ideas concerning the EU’s future until the spring of 2022, and these may result in specific recommendations for reforming the Union. Anyone can register and express their views or comments on the functioning of the EU at futureu.europa.eu – the official website of the conference, which is jointly sponsored by the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission.