Brussels, 31 January 2011
Europe 2020 strategy and territorial pacts: the Hungarian presidency visits the CoR
Hungary's Deputy Minister for Public Administration and Justice, Bence Rétvári, visited the Committee of the Regions (CoR) today, Friday 28 January, kicking off cooperation between the CoR and the Hungarian EU Council presidency. CoR President Mercedes Bresso called for the presidency's support in making "territorial pacts" a reality across all Member States, thereby giving practical shape to the Europe 2020 strategy on the ground.
Welcoming Mr Rétvari, CoR President Mercedes Bresso took the opportunity to call on the Hungarian presidency to "encourage and support the conclusion of territorial pacts with local and regional authorities in all Member States". She added, "All stakeholders in society must rally to the cause of economic growth and territorial cohesion in Europe. But we will deliver only if all relevant government levels do their job – not in isolation from each other, but in a coordinated, integrated and synchronised manner."
Echoing the CoR president's request, the Mayor of Gödöllö, György Gémesi, called for territorial pacts to be placed on the agenda of the forthcoming Spring European Council.
Mr Rétvári – himself a former member of Budapest city council – was attending the CoR's first plenary session of 2011 and outlined how the Hungarian presidency intended to involve the local and regional authorities in achieving its objectives. He said it was his government's intention that the regulation on EGTC (European groupings of territorial cooperation) be revised during the Hungarian presidency, acknowledging that "the approach proposed by the Committee of the Regions on multi-level governance had proven its worth and that territorial pacts were indeed worth promoting".
Two particular issues will be the focus of close cooperation between the CoR and the Hungarian presidency: regions and cities' expertise in managing and conserving water resources, and the added value that cooperation projects at regional and city level can bring to the Eastern Partnership.
Indeed, Mr Rétvári used his visit to convey the Hungarian presidency's request to the representatives of the EU's regions and cities to draw up an opinion on promoting a sustainable water policy. In order to submit its opinion by 1 July, the Committee has already appointed as rapporteur the president of the Puglia region (Italy) Nichi Vendola (PES), and launched a public consultation on the subject.
This plenary session also saw the CoR adopt the last in its series of six opinions on Eastern Partnership countries, which form the basis of the CoR's position on the subject. It is also against this backdrop that the first meeting of the Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of the Eastern Partnership is to be organised by the CoR this April, in partnership with the Hungarian presidency. This will provide a forum for discussion between CoR members and representatives of regions and cities across the partner countries, with a view to promoting the principles of local democracy and cross-border cooperation instruments.
Over the next six months, the CoR will be working together with the Hungarian presidency to hold a number of political meetings; to mark the Hungarian presidency, the CoR has published an information brochure for Hungarian local and regional elected representatives, aimed primarily at explaining the CoR's institutional role and the impact of EU policies in the Member State's regions and cities.
Visit the CoR's website: www.cor.europa.eu
The Committee of the Regions
The Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. The mission of its 344 members from all 27 EU Member States is to involve regional and local authorities and the communities they represent in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council are obliged to consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. It can appeal to the EU Court of Justice if its rights are infringed or it believes that an EU law violates the subsidiarity principle or fails to respect regional or local powers.
For more information, please contact:
Athénaïs Cazalis de Fondouce
Tel.: 32 (0)2 282 2447
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