Brussels, 15 December 2011
Commission Vice-President Šefčovič in CoR plenary: "We need your leadership at regional and local level"
Presenting the European Commission's priorities for 2012 at the Committee of the Regions plenary session today, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič underlined the important role of regional and local leadership in delivering European renewal. Committee members then adopted a resolution detailing their political requests for the coming year.
Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, responsible for interinstitutional relations, was outlining the EU executive's work programme for 2012 to regional presidents and mayors from across Europe. Building on the December European Council meeting which "showed the way how to restore stability", Commissioner Šefčovič stressed that the EU now "needs to tackle immediate problems", but at the same time "cannot put long-term reforms on hold". In this context Vice President Šefčovič added: "We need your leadership at regional and local level, because it is essential to restore confidence."
In a debate chaired by CoR President Mercedes Bresso, regional and local politicians from across Europe then adopted a resolution on the Commission's work programme 2012, outlining their requests to the EU lawmakers. In general, the CoR "advocates greater European integration" provided "that this development is given democratically legitimacy and occurs in the framework of the European Union institutions". In addition, the CoR "regrets that so far, an excessively narrow approach has been taken with the project to enshrine only budget discipline" in the new intergovernmental treaty.
The resolution then outlines the Committee's requests concerning the main legislative packages currently on the table. CoR members call on the Council and the European Parliament to agree on the next multiannual financial framework – which was the subject of a detailed CoR opinion adopted at yesterday's sitting – "by the end of 2012". On the EU's strategy for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth, it "deplores that in most cases the preparation of the Europe 2020 National Reform Programmes has been a missed opportunity to implement Europe 2020 in partnership between all tiers of government". The European Commission should insist on the need for member states to address this issue, and should "report to what extent and how all partners, including local and regional authorities, have been involved" in the strategy's implementation.
The resolution welcomes "the fact that a cohesion policy for all regions of the Union has been retained", but "regrets that the budget earmarked for this policy in the proposal for the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework has been reduced." In the ongoing reform of the EU's common agricultural policy, the CoR will be "insisting on a clearer focus on employment, on greening the CAP, on strengthening its territorial dimension and on the need for regulation of the agricultural sector." Furthermore, CoR members expect the Commission to present previously announced measures to ensure that public services "have a framework enabling them to perform their tasks."
A consolidated version of the CoR resolution will be available in the coming days at http://coropinions.cor.europa.eu. Recent examples of how CoR opinions contributed to improving EU laws in 2010 and 2011 are available in the brochure "Making a difference: how regions and cities shape Europe's legislation".
The CoR on the internet: 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 of fails to respect regional or local powers.
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