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National and regional EU info

1. The local angle

All European Union activities will have some effect – direct or indirect – on European citizens. National and regional media in the member states usually cover these effects from a strictly local viewpoint – for example, how does a new directive on waste recycling affect the families, municipalities and businesses in this particular town/region/country? Who pays for the costs and who organises the recycling in the municipality?

The spokespeople immediately identifiable who cover that subject are more than likely to be from another country than yours and will probably not have any detailed knowledge of specific regional characteristics. In order to get all the facts and local flavours, additional information and viewpoints are needed to add to the official EU standpoints. In many cases there will be officials from national or regional governments directly involved in negotiations on new measures, so their organisations may have spokespeople able to help. The following will give some pointers on how to get the local viewpoint to an EU issue.

Please note that only the top level of EU legislation is adopted in public using the process which involves the Council of Ministers and European Parliament. Below this level, a great deal of detailed, implementing legislation – fleshing out the top-level legislation adopted by Council and Parliament – is adopted by the European Commission itself. It is assisted in this task by a wide range of committees, made up of officials and experts from national ministries, which meet in private.

In the case of regional funding, where EU funds are allocated to specific regions, the Commission adopts programmes on the basis of proposals from the governments concerned, once it is satisfied that the objectives set at EU level have been addressed.

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