Brussels, 6 May 2011
Van Rompuy to discuss immigration and economy at CoR Plenary; farm reform and public services also on the agenda
For the first time since his appointment, European Council President Hermann Van Rompuy will address representatives of local and regional authorities on Wednesday 11 May.
Mr Van Rompuy is keen to discuss with elected territorial representatives recent developments in the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the increased role that local and regional authorities must play to ensure its success. CoR members will also be sure to ask him about migration from the southern Mediterranean, an issue facing many local authorities.
The May plenary session will also see the adoption of three opinions focused on the reform of one of Europe's most important policies – the Common Agricultural Policy or CAP. The European Commission's proposals for a new CAP after 2013 will be discussed in the draft opinion from Luis Durnwalder (IT/EPP), Governor of the autonomous province of Bolzano-South Tyrol, which will build on the CoR's previous calls for a fairer and more balanced CAP. The role played by quality products in boosting Europe's farmers on the global stage will be highlighted in the draft opinion of René Souchon (FR/PES), President of the Auvergne Region, while the challenges and opportunities facing the dairy sector following the proposed reform of milk market regulations will be debated in the draft opinion of Emilia Müller (DE/EPP), Minister for Federal and European Affairs at the Bavarian State Chancellery.
This plenary session will furthermore tackle two key issues for Europe's regional and local authorities: Their provision of basic public services to citizens, such as water supplies, waste recycling or hospitals, often risks clashing with tough EU state aid rules. CoR members will discuss recent plans to reform these rules on 'services of general economic interest' with Joaquín Almunia, European Commission Vice-President responsible for competition. At the same time, the EU is overhauling its legal framework for public procurement, which also covers regional and local authorities. Henk Kool (NL/PES), member of the Executive Council of The Hague, will present his proposals for a more efficient European public procurement market.
Also on the agenda are the draft opinions by Norbert Kartmann (DE/EPP), Member of the Hesse State Assembly, on European disaster response, and by Jesús Gamallo Aller (ES/EPP), Director-General for International and EU Affairs, Regional Government of Galicia, on EU development policy.
The Plenary Session will be preceeded on 10th May by the CoR Forum 'Social innovation: European vision, local action'.
The debates will be broadcast live at www.cor.europa.eu, on Wednesday 11 May from 2.30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday 12 May from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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.
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