Ahead of the Spring European Council, the President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Ramon Luis Valcárcel, together with the First Vice President, Mercedes Bresso, and the Presidents of the CoR Political Groups discussed today in Brussels with the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn, how to boost the delivery of the EU's growth agenda on the ground.
The CoR delegation presented to Mr Van Rompuy the commitment of regions and cities to take forward the Europe 2020 objectives at territorial level, including the focus on youth employment. According to the CoR, the current lack of involvement of local and regional authorities in the European Semester is among the main obstacles to the full mobilisation of targeted policy and resources needed to boost economic recovery.
In order to contribute concretely to the attainment of the European Semester goals, the CoR proposes that a Regional Progress Indicator be developed to measure the implementation of the European Growth and Jobs Strategy at the regional level. The competencies of regions for delivering Europe 2020 Strategy should also be highlighted in the future Annual Growth Surveys.
In this regard, President Van Rompuy informed the CoR delegation about the schedule of the review of the Europe 2020 Strategy undertaken by the European Council, which should be completed by Spring 2014, and he invited the CoR to actively contribute to the process.
Discussing the negotiations on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2014-2020, the CoR representatives stressed the need to bridge the gap between the budgetary means and the EU's political commitments in terms of growth and jobs, social, economic and territorial cohesion.
According to the CoR, improvements are needed in particular with regard to increasing overall flexibility, reducing the gap between commitments and payments, as well as securing a mid-term revision clause and introducing genuine own resources. Cohesion policy must remain a stable and secure pillar throughout the 2014-2020 programming period in order to achieve the Europe 2020 targets and foster cohesion across Europe's regions and cities.
Moreover, the CoR delegation insisted on the need for a swift agreement between European Parliament and Council as a stability and financial security prerequisite for initiating the 2014-2020 operational programme period.
For more information:
Statement of the CoR Conference of Presidents following the 12 March Territorial Dialogue