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Press Release

The EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives


Brussels, 6 October 2010

Europe needs a U-turn from its neo-liberal past, says CoR President

Mercedes Bresso has hailed the Europe 2020 Strategy as a first step in the right direction away from the neo-liberal agenda which Europe has pursued so far. But more steps are necessary to re-establish the right balance between the economic, environmental and social goals of Europe, the Committee of the Regions President said in a keynote speech last Thursday.

It would be wrong to believe that economic growth leads automatically to economic and social development, Bresso stressed. "We must stop giving almost systematic priority to economic criteria over human ones, stop encouraging mobility if it adversely affects standards of living or environmental conditions, stop developing ever more sophisticated financial mechanisms, when local private savings are harnessed."

In an opinion adopted during this week's plenary session, the Committee of the Regions demands that per capita GDP should no longer be the sole criteria for the structural funds and suggests instead the use of additional indicators like a comprehensive environmental index and a harmonised social survey, that would give a more rounded figure of the 'well-being' of Europe's regions and cities.

"The Europe 2020 Strategy is a credible response to the many challenges facing the EU today, particularly globalisation and the recession. It remains; however, strongly inspired by the neo-liberal model reigning during the post-2000 years, which has damaged the planet's environment and climate, reinforced income disparities and social exclusion and has created the degeneration of public services. Europe, and its future EU regional policy, should dare to cross the Rubicon and leave neo-liberalism behind," the CoR President added.

To know more about the recently adopted CoR opinions "Measuring progress – GDP and beyond" (read the draft opinion) and "The role of cohesion policy in the Europe 2020 strategy," (see the press release) please follow the links.

Visit the CoR's website:

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.

For more information, please contact:

Christian Gsodam

Tel.: +32 2282 2121

Athénaïs Cazalis de Fondouce

Tel. + 32 2282 2447

To read previous press releases, click here.

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