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The EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives
Valcárcel at Nicosia informal council urges Member States to grant adequate funding for cohesion
The President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Ramón Luis Valcárcel, intervened at the informal meeting of the Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy held on 6 November in Nicosia.
The meeting was promoted by the Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council to discuss the progress in the negotiations on the cohesion policy reform. It involved all relevant stakeholders, including the EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn, the Chair of the European Parliament Committee for Regional Development, Danuta Hübner, the President of the CoR and the President of the European Social and Social Committee, Staffan Nilsson, as well as representatives of the European Investment Bank.
"Thanks to the intense cooperation with the European Parliament, the needs and the proposals of the European regions and cities have been discussed and clarified and the Parliament's mandate for the trialogue now reflects all our main concerns and expectations" said Mr. Valcárcel during the meeting. He also stressed the key points of the CoR position on the cohesion policy reform.
A few days after the presentation of a new proposal for the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2014-2020 by the Cyprus Presidency, the CoR President insisted on the need for an adequate budget and called for Cohesion Ministers to put pressure on their colleagues in charge of Finance, in order to achieve a decent compromise on the new EU budget. Valcárcel, backed by representatives of EP, stated that the cuts proposed by the CY presidency are unacceptable, underlining that: "Cohesion is the main EU policy for growth and development, it is our duty to defend and further develop it in order to answer to the challenge of leaving the crisis behind us".
He then insisted on the efforts needed to increase the effectiveness of cohesion policy through a stronger focus on Europe 2020 objectives. In this perspective, he stressed that: "it is crucial to fully involve regions and cities in the shaping of the partnership contracts and to provide them with the right margin of manoeuvre in order to adapt the operational programmes to the potential and the specific needs of each community". Furthermore, he called for the full implementation of the main proposals presented by the Commission, including the introduction of the category of transition regions. At the same time, CoR President reiterated the opposition of regions and cities to any kind of macroeconomic conditionality, threatening the trustworthiness and solidity of the multi-annual investment planning supported by EU structural funds.
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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