The EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives
Brussels, 24 January 2011
CoR plenary to present grassroots solutions for agriculture, marine protection and cross-border cooperation
It is regions and cities that translate European targets into concrete action on the ground. How EU lawmakers can harness this hands-on experience will dominate the Committee of the Regions plenary session on 27 and 28 January. Meeting in Brussels, regional and local politicians will present solutions for more effective agricultural and maritime policies as well as cross-border cooperation. Under the presidency of Mercedes Bresso, they will debate their proposals with European Commissioners Dacian Cioloş (agriculture) and Maria Damanaki (maritime affairs and fisheries), as well as Bence Rétvári, Minister of State representing the Hungarian presidency.
Commissioner Cioloş will return to the CoR plenary to outline the EU executive's plans for the common agricultural policy after 2013. He will also be present at the adoption of an outlook opinion on local food systems which he requested from the Committee in 2010, and which will be presented by rapporteur Lenie Dwarshuis (NL/ALDE). In it, the representative of the province of Zuid-Holland shows how local and regional authorities have a key role to play in helping farmers and food producers to sell their products locally, with benefits for both the economy and the environment. Furthermore, in an opinion drafted by Ossi Martikainen (FI/ALDE), the CoR requests that food aid to the most deprived should continue to be included under the umbrella of the EU's common agricultural policy. Commissioner Damanaki, meanwhile, will speak at the plenary ahead of the adoption of the opinion on marine knowledge and the further development of an integrated maritime policy, which supports the proposals of the commission but warns that local and regional authorities must be more regularly and consistently consulted in this area.
Regional and local authorities also need to work together directly to deliver results for their citizens, for instance to supply joint public services in border regions. In 2006, the EU created the legal form of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) to minimise the red tape associated with such cooperation projects. With 16 of these bodies already set up and more than 20 projects in the pipeline across Europe, the new tool had a promising start. The EGTC's legal framework will be reviewed this year, providing a window of opportunity to simplify procedures even further. Rapporteur Alberto Núñez Feijóo (ES/EPP), President of Galicia, will present proposals for improvement at the plenary session. In parallel, the CoR will launch a support platform for existing and future EGTCs and all interested stakeholders.
Finally, CoR Members will kick off their collaboration with the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union with a debate with Bence Rétvári, Deputy Minister for Public Administration and Justice. He will use the opportunity to describe how the Hungarian Presidency intends to build on the commitment of the local and regional authorities to achieve the goals it has set. Over the next six months, the CoR will be working with the Hungarian Presidency and local and regional authorities to hold a number of political meetings, a list of which can be found in an information brochure.
The debates will be broadcast live at www.cor.europa.eu, on Thursday 27 January from 15.00-21.00hrs and Friday 28 January from 9.00-13.00hrs.
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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Athénaïs Cazalis de Fondouce
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