AER is the bridge between its member regions and European policy makers. Regular direct contact with them allows the AER to influence all EU policies and to have the demands of its members incorporated within them.
AER allows an effective transfer of experience and knowledge through its own tools: Peer Reviews, Training Academies and competitions. Studies, surveys and reports of the AER provide Europe with the regional expertise it needs to shape its policies.
To abolish the distances between Europe and its territories, the AER maintains a permanent direct link with citizens through its programs such as Eurodyssée, Summer schools and citizens’ forums.
AER members respect the values of democracy and human rights. They believe in the form of regionalism which pleads that "The apportionment of powers between the State and the regions shall be determined in the national constitution or in legislation in accordance with the principles of political decentralisation and subsidiarity. Under these principles, functions should be exercised at the level as close to the citizen as possible." AER members offer solidarity to regions undergoing democratisation and support, depending on their capacities, regions in difficulty.* They act for partnership and mutual assistance at interregional level.
The regions are factors of democracy in Europe. They help to maintain peace and political stability on the continent. They guarantee the protection of historical, political, social and cultural diversity in Europe. They represent an intrinsic part of European integration and globalisation. The enhancement of regional democracy is the source of a more human governance, closer to the citizens and implying greater autonomy, responsibility and efficiency.
The regions represent the level which is close to the citizens, which can meet their real expectations. They are also territories and communities with which the people can identify and in which they can be heard. Therefore the principle of subsidiarity and its application must be more clearly defined in the European Treaty. The regions must be further included in European decision-making and the redaction of national and European policies which they would then be responsible for enacting on their own territories.
The exchange of ideas, know-how and experience between the regions encourages mutual understanding and brings people closer together. Despite the diversity of regions in Europe, shared initiatives (joint positions, cooperation projects..) allow particularities to be bypassed and shared values to become a source of mobilisation.
Over the last ten years, the role of the regions in Europe has been strengthened and the AER's contribution has been substantial. The following has been achieved: