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Brussels, 15 January 2010

Commissioner Samecki backs EU 2020 Strategy to get Europe back on growth track (Territorial Dialogue, Palma de Mallorca)

Regional Policy Commissioner Paweł Samecki will make a keynote speech at the Conference on Territorial Dialogue in Palma de Mallorca on 18 January. This high-level meeting, co-organised by the EU Committee of the Regions and the Spanish Presidency of the European Union, will provide a forum for local and regional stakeholders to exchange views on the new strategy for sustainable growth and employment, known as the EU 2020 Strategy.

Commissioner Samecki will open the discussions with Manuel Chaves González, the Spanish Minister of Territorial Policy, and Luc Van den Brande, President of the EU Committee of the Regions . Speaking ahead of the event, Commissioner Samecki said: " Europe's exit from the crisis is the point of departure for the EU 2020 strategy; our strategy is future oriented and addresses the long-term needs of building a smarter and greener economy that delivers growth and jobs. Cohesion policy already kick-started a new approach by strongly aligning its investment priorities for 2007-13 with the Lisbon Strategy goals. However we need to reinforce this even further to get Europe back on a sustained growth track."

Spearheading the EU Strategy for growth and jobs

EU cohesion policy is the main investment instrument underpinning the EU's Lisbon Strategy. The bulk of its resources – over € 200 billion – are geared to investments which have the potential to make a significant contribution to achieving more growth and jobs.

Across Member States and regions, the results of this earmarking have been encouraging. Less developed regions, the so-called "Convergence Regions", are currently investing 65% of cohesion policy resources on Lisbon-related objectives; this figure rises to 82% for regions in the "Regional Competitiveness and Employment" category.

However , these efforts need to be strengthened. In his speech, the Commissioner will refer to the economic survey of the European Union published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in September 2009, according to which progress in improving research and innovation efforts in Europe has been slow.

The debate will focus on the short-term measures put in place to tackle the crisis and their links to the new strategy for sustainable growth after 2010. The crisis has already triggered a process of change for optimising use of EU investment. Within the context of the European Economic Recovery Plan, Member States can amend their cohesion policy programmes to increase investment in areas with greater growth potential, such as, energy efficiency, clean technologies, environmental services, broadband networks and improving access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Note for editors

"Territorial dialogue 2010" is the fifth in a series of annual conferences organised at the initiative of the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR). The event promotes a stronger role for regions and cities in the development and implementation of the EU’s growth and jobs strategy. Members of the CoR and European Parliament, along with other regional representatives, will take part in the discussions, with the aim of contributing to the decisions which will be taken by leaders of the Member States at the Spring European Council on 25-26 March. The Commission will also table proposals before the European Council, taking account of a public consultation on the new strategy for sustainable growth as well as the views expressed through the CoR's consultation on the subject.

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