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Valcárcel calls for a strong EU Budget for the Connecting Europe Facility
Ramon Luis Valcárcel, the President of the Committee of the Regions, supported the declaration issued by the European Commission Vice President, Sim Kallas, to reinforce the EU budget for the establishment of the Connecting European Facility (CEF).
The European cross border networks in transport, energy and telecommunications require a credible budget for the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. "Citizens and local and regional authorities would not understand that European cross border networks and cohesion policy, which largely financed those projects, will see its resources reduced under the pressure of future budget reductions" he said".
In the on going delicate phase of negotiations on the EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2014-2020, the declaration by Commissioner Kallas on 23 October 2012, states the following "the Connecting Europe Facility will help to build and complete the railways, airport links, ports, maritime transport links, energy grids, pipelines, intelligent transport systems and broadband networks that are essential for Europe. It will help to join up missing links and remove bottlenecks. These investments will generate growth and jobs, and will make work and travel easier for millions of European citizens and businesses. It will help to boost Europe's single market and provide security for further investment" reads the declaration, which has been signed also by several key actors of the European infrastructure sector.
"If we want to overcome the crisis, we have to invest on our future. To regain competitiveness and boost an inclusive growth, Europe needs a massive infrastructural upgrade, mobilising the best available skills and technologies to complete, transform and integrate its transports, energy and ICT networks" said President Valcárcel. Adding that: "An adequate financial support from the EU budget, together with the full involvement of regions and cities and a strong role of private investors, are the vital conditions to bring this plan into reality".
President Valcárcel reminded that the implementation of the Connecting Europe Facility should also be in line with the Cohesion policy so he "recalled that the funding has to be fairly allocated between all EU Member States and regions whilst taking into account the specific territorial circumstances of the EU". He also asked the European Commission to "respect the Cohesion Fund Regulation, including national quotas applying to Member States" as indicated by the CoR in its opinion on the CEF last July.
The EU 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 infringes the subsidiarity principle or fails to respect regional or local powers.