​​​​​​​​​​​​

 

 

Major success for CoR and EA group as locally and regionally determined contributions get featured in the COP 23 final declaration http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Major-success-CoR-EA-group-locally-regionally-determined-contributions-featured-COP-23-final-declaration-.aspx2017-11-11T23:00:00ZMajor success for CoR and EA group as locally and regionally determined contributions get featured in the COP 23 final declaration <p style="text-align:justify;">​EA members Cllr Andrew Cooper and Cllr Enda Stenson were part of the COR delegation, led by President Karl Heinz Lambertz, which took part in the 23rd Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP23).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 12 November CoR members participated in the Climate Summit of local and regional leaders where all parties, region and cities across the world, as well as international organisations  such as ICLEI and Climate Alliance to name a few, agreed  a final declaration which stipulates the establishment of Locally- and Regionally-determined contributions (LDCs) to help national governments achieve existing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) . Cllr Andrew Cooper, EA coordinator in the ENVE commission and member of Kirklees County Council, who took the initiative of setting up the concept of LDCs as a way to achieve the agreed target under the Paris agreement, called on UNFCC to continue work on its development.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Establishing targets agreed at a local level could give us the boost we need to actually achieve the carbon reductions that need to happen to prevent runaway climate change. LDCs also give us the opportunity to make action on Climate Change more relevant to citizens as they see action at the local level led by their Local or Regional Authority", said Cllr Cooper.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A global system of LDCs is a huge opportunity for local and regional authorities all across the globe. For Mayors in the USA, for example, it provides a Framework to get involved in the delivery of the UNFCC targets. For smaller municipalities which are not engaged with bodies such as the Global Covenant of Mayors it gives an opportunity to contribute to the Paris goals.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 13 November members took part in a conference on Transatlantic Dialogue on Climate Change with the US conference of Mayors and the Canadian municipalities. Members committed to champion the Covenant of Mayors initiative within and beyond the EU as a prime model of multi-level governance for climate objectives.<br></p>
Truskolaski calls for continued support to SMEs beyond 2020http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Truskolaski-calls-for-continued-support-to-SMEs-beyond-2020.aspx2017-11-08T23:00:00ZTruskolaski calls for continued support to SMEs beyond 2020<p style="text-align:justify;">​At the last meeting of the CoR's Commission for Economic Policy (ECON), members adopted two opinions: "Deepening of the EMU by 2025" and "Future of COSME programme beyond 2020".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski, EA coordinator for the ECON Commission and CoR rapporteur on the start-up and scale-up initiative, said that it is very important that LRAs ensure a stable support to small and medium-sized entreprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs beyond 2020 through instruments of support for SME competitiveness, such as the current COSME programme. "That is why we requested that particular care should be taken to ensure that this programme's successor addresses the funding needs of the entire spectrum of SMEs in different regions, including traditional SMEs,  self-entrepreneurs,  micro-enterprises and high-growth start-ups and scale-ups" Mr Truskolaski added.<br></p>
Silberg: EU can learn about tolerance from young people in Bosnia and Herzegovinahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Silberg-EU-can-learn-about-tolerance-from-young-people-in-Bosnia-and-Herzegovina.aspx2017-10-24T22:00:00ZSilberg: EU can learn about tolerance from young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 24 and 25 October, members of the European Committee of the Regions' (CoR) Working Group on the Western Balkans visited the city of East Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina's Republika Srpska entity.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">CoR members and representatives of local authorities from Bosnia and Herzegovina discussed the best practices and challenges in the use of IPA 2 pre-accession funds in Bosnia and Herzegovina and especially in cross-border cooperation with neighbouring countries.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The members also had a conversation with the students of the University of East Sarajevo where young people from the region shared their concerns and ideas about Europe, Balkans and the EU. EA group was represented at the meeting by Mr Uno Silberg, Member of Kose Municipality Council (Estonia) who encouraged students to seek opportunities and learn from their peers from other parts of Europe. Talking with student representatives, Mr Silberg also said that young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkans have a lot to teach to people in Europe about multiculturalism, tolerance and life with people of different backgrounds.<br></p>
Vanlouwe calls for dialogue and discussion not jailing democratically elected Catalan leadershttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Vanlouwe-calls-for-dialogue-and-discussion-not-jailing-democratically-elected-Catalan-leaders.aspx2017-11-02T23:00:00ZVanlouwe calls for dialogue and discussion not jailing democratically elected Catalan leaders<p>President of the <span><span>European Alliance group </span></span>in the Committee of the Regions Mr Karl Vanlouwe said the jailing of democratically elected politicians in Spain was politically motivated and unacceptable in a European Union which prides itself on democracy and freedom of speech.</p><p>It is now clear that the Catalan crisis is a European issue and no longer an internal Spanish issue.  Mr Vanlouwe who is also a member of the Flemish Parliament said:  I call on the European Institutions to condemn the latest attempt by the Spanish Government and Courts to supress Catalan Political rights.  All democrats should stand united against the jailing of democratically elected leaders.  The EU cannot ignore these developments in Spain.<br></p>
European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission launch Broadband Platform to help end digital dividehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/European-Committee-of-the-Regions-and-the-European-Commission-launch-Broadband-Platform-to-help-end-digital-divide.aspx2017-10-11T22:00:00ZEuropean Committee of the Regions and the European Commission launch Broadband Platform to help end digital divide<p style="text-align:justify;">​In the presence of European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission launched a joint platform which aims to deploy high-speed broadband coverage across all European regions, including rural and other disadvantaged areas.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">CoR members and representatives of the European Commission will meet twice a year to share experiences and discuss various challenges related to broadband deployment on the ground, thus making it a truly bottom-up policy process.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking at the launching event, EA group members Cllr Anthony Buchanan (East Renfrewshire, Scotland) and Cllr Kieran McCarthy (Cork City, Ireland) shared experiences from their local communities and outlined ideas on how the goal of covering the entire Europe with fast broadband could be achieved in the next couple of years.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">They stressed the importance of broadband coverage for territorial and social cohesion and sustainability in Europe, while Mr McCarthy particularly noted the new opportunities broadband coverage can create in the development of smart villages, another recent initiative by the European Commission on which the CoR is currently preparing an opinion.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The next meeting of the Broadband Platform will take place in March 2018.<br></p>
Kieran McCarthy's opinion on the European Data Economy adopted unanimously at the CoR plenary sessionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Kieran-McCarthy's-opinion-on-the-European-Data-Economy-adopted-unanimously-at-the-CoR-plenary-session.aspx2017-10-10T22:00:00ZKieran McCarthy's opinion on the European Data Economy adopted unanimously at the CoR plenary session<p>​On 11 October, 125th plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions adopted with unanimity Cllr Kieran McCarthy's opinion on the European Commission's Communication "Building a European Data Economy", which was published earlier this year.</p><p>In the opinion, Cllr McCarthy argues that local and regional authorities could have a key role in creating a database of public information, providing data security, developing necessary digital and entrepreneurial skills, and securing and facilitating funding for broadband networks. He also calls on the European Commission to support local and regional authorities in their financing activities by continuing to authorise priority deployment of the European Structural and Investment Funds towards digital infrastructure in all European regions.</p><p>To read Mr McCarthy's opinion, please click <a href="http://cdlink.cor.europa.eu/l/26d93d2a16144e6a86beaa8ad43f4fd5/85CD5620/41B21B3B/102017n">here</a>.<br></p>
President of Białystok advocates for a simplified Cohesion Policy after 2020http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/President-of-Bialystok-advocates-for-a-simplified-Cohesion-Policy-after-2020.aspx2017-10-10T22:00:00ZPresident of Białystok advocates for a simplified Cohesion Policy after 2020<p style="text-align:justify;">​On October 11, 2017, the 8th meeting of the Interregional Group on Less Developed Regions took place at the seat of the European Committee of the Regions. The Members of the Intergroup adopted the Position paper on simplification on Cohesion Policy post-2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The meeting was opened by Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions who congratulated the work undertaken by the Interregional Group on this very important issue for all regions. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">President Tadeusz Truskolaski highlighted that the adoption of this position coincided with increased debate on the future budget of the European Union.- "The European Week of Regions and Cities, which is currently the perfect time and place for discussion on the future of cohesion policy, exchange of experiences on cohesion spending in the years of crisis and preparation of land for cohesion policy after 2020" - stressed Truskolaski – "Cohesion Policy supports developments in less developed regions of the EU and is a major source of investment. We must be aware, however, that despite the gradual diminution of regional economic disparities, less developed regions without adequate support will not be able to even out differences, and even, as recent studies show, the distance to the rich has increased."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The implementation of the Cohesion Policy should guarantee stability of the legal environment, reduce administrative burdens and ensure implementation of the simplified procedures expected by the Member States. It should focus on creating a framework that will facilitate the successful implementation of Cohesion Policy objectives rather than attempting to retail all possible situations". – said President of Białystok. – "Cohesion policy should be more effective than results-oriented. Hence, it is imperative that the agreed development objectives are paramount to the implementation solutions implemented. A clear division of responsibilities between the European Commission and the Member States and regions should be ensured to maximize the potential of this governance model".<br></p>
CoR calls for local targets to tackle climate changehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CoR-calls-for-local-targets-to-tackle-climate-change.aspx2017-10-09T22:00:00ZCoR calls for local targets to tackle climate change<p style="text-align:justify;">​One month ahead of the COP23, cities and regions call Europe to keep up leadership in the fight against global warming with upgraded ambition and new financing initiatives for local climate action.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In presence of Commissioner for Energy and Climate Change, Miguel Arias Cañete, members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) called for adequate mechanisms for climate finance, reiterated the importance of involving all levels of government and said they would continue to strengthen relations with cities and regions outside Europe's borders to push the climate agenda forward.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">EA Group member, Andrew Cooper said: "the reduction of CO2 emissions achieved by local governments needs to be measured, valued and encouraged.  A system of Locally Determined Contributions (LDC) needs to be established in addition to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to help bridge the emissions gap.” The Kirklees Councilor says "Locally Determined Contributions” will help limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. It would also allow us to set up higher yet remaining achievable targets."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The COR plenary also adopted Mr Cooper opinion on the "Environmental implementation review" which provides recommendation as to how to address the implementation gaps in the implementation of environmental law in the EU Member States.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The opinion urges the European Commission to place climate change into the next round of the EIR and to include both climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The initial focus of the EIR is on waste management, nature and biodiversity protection, air quality, noise pollution and water quality and management.<br></p>
European Alliance President condemns violence, calls for dialogue and international mediation in Catalan debate at the CoRhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/European-Alliance-President-condemns-violence,-calls-for-dialogue-and-international-mediation-in-Catalan-debate-at-the-CoR.aspx2017-10-09T22:00:00ZEuropean Alliance President condemns violence, calls for dialogue and international mediation in Catalan debate at the CoR<p>​<span><span>O<span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5">n 10 October</span></span></span><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5">, the European Committee of the Regions plenary session held a debate on the Catalan crisis which saw Mr Amadeu Altafaj, Representative of the Government of Catalonia to the EU presenting the current situation and putting a passionate case for Catalonia to the members of the CoR.</span></p><p><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5">During the debate, the European Alliance group President Karl Vanlouwe made the following plea to the EU:<br></span></p><ul><li><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5">to condemn the use of violence against people who only wished to exercise their right to vote</span></li><li><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5">to insist on political dialogue as the way forward between the Catalan and Spanish governments</span></li><li><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5">to call for international or EU mediation in the dispute</span></li></ul><p>Ms Mairi Gougeon, member of the Scottih Parliament, reiterated the call for a dialogue and added that ruber bullets, tear gas, attacks on emergency services and ordinary members of the public have no place in Europe.<br></p><p>To watch the full debate, please click <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I144917">here</a> (English interpretation).</p>
CoR president Lambertz delivers first "State of the European Union: the View of Regions and Cities" speech, EA president Karl Vanlouwe calls for more devolution of powers in the EUhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CoR-president-Lambertz-State-of-the-EU-speech-EA-president-Karl-Vanlouwe-devolution-of-powers-in-the-EU.aspx2017-10-09T22:00:00ZCoR president Lambertz delivers first "State of the European Union: the View of Regions and Cities" speech, EA president Karl Vanlouwe calls for more devolution of powers in the EU<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 10 October, during the 125th plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions, president of the CoR Karl-Heinz Lambertz delivered the first annual "State of the European Union: the View of Regions and Cities" speech in the presence of the president of the European Council Donald Tusk.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In his speech, Mr Lambertz gave an overview of the current situation in the EU from the perspective of local and regional authorities and outlined some of the main challenges for the coming period which, among others, include EU institutions' efforts to reconnect with citizens, future of the cohesion policy, EU budget and public investment, migration and Brexit.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing the assembly, EA group president Mr Karl Vanlouwe stressed the necessity to have a real devolution of powers within the EU, all the way down to the level closest to the citizens. He said that we must challenge the current model where communication is largely effected between member states and the EU and that the true respect for the principle of subsidiarity means  giving people and their local representatives powers which are already guaranteed on paper by the EU treaties. <br></p>
'Strengthening the role of Nations and Regions in Economic development' discussed at European Alliance Group seminarhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/'Strengthening-the-role-of-Nations-and-Regions-in-Economic-development'-discussed-at-European-Alliance-Group-seminar.aspx2017-10-09T22:00:00Z'Strengthening the role of Nations and Regions in Economic development' discussed at European Alliance Group seminar<p></p><p>Under the chairmanship of EA group President Karl Vanlouwe this year's European Week of Regions and Cities seminar focused on 'Strengthening the role of Nations and Regions in Economic development'.</p><p>To a packed room the seminar brought together policy makers and practitioners from Flanders, the Vanguard initiative, Gdynia City Council and from the Northern & Western region of Ireland.</p><p>It was clear from discussions that nations, regions, cities and local authorities are the level of governance closest to the citizens and business and therefore crucial for economic development.  Different strategies were discussed as well as the role of the European Union to allow more flexibility for the relevant level of governance to enhance their regional and local economies.</p><p>The seminar also examined strengthening the economic development, bridging the investment gap, as well as current challenges and opportunities.<br></p>
Szwabski supports the Cohesion Alliance and calls for strong cohesion policy in the futurehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Mr-Stanislaw-Szwabski-supports-the-Cohesion-Alliance-and-calls-for-strong-cohesion-policy-in-the-future.aspx2017-10-08T22:00:00ZSzwabski supports the Cohesion Alliance and calls for strong cohesion policy in the future<p>​During the Opening Session of European Week of Regions and Cities 2017 Mr Stanisław Szwabski, Councillor of Gdynia City and 1st Vice-Chair of EA Group at the Committee of the Regions expressed his strong support for the Cohesion Alliance, through which the CoR Members want to ensure a strong cohesion policy after 2020 with an adequate budget, simplified and with the principle of partnership at the forefront. "I am glad that the EP has joined us in this effort and has adopted resolutions on this issue in the last week"-he said.</p><p>As rapporteur of the Committee of the Regions on the Code of Conduct for Partnership and Port City Revitalization he emphasized on cohesion policy and EU funds as solidarity and focus on reducing regional imbalances within the EU.</p><p>He gave an example of his municipality, a city characterized by great dynamics of development thanks to its economic potential, cohesion policy and the people who work there. "The revitalization of our city was crucial to overcoming the post-crisis stagnation and the exodus of marauding. Gdynia is a port city that offers great opportunities in terms of infrastructure, assets, ability to develop new sectors, as well as cultural and leisure activities. We have succeeded in identifying and strengthening synergies in port - city relations in Gdynia, partially weakened by the liberalization and globalization of markets. We worked in different dimensions and combined EU transport, maritime and water policies to address the development challenges of our city." He added by giving several examples of concrete projects.<br></p>
Spanish Government action in Catalonia must be condemned by the European Unionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Spanish-Government-action-in-Catalonia-must-be-condemned-by-the-European-Union.aspx2017-10-01T22:00:00ZSpanish Government action in Catalonia must be condemned by the European Union<div style="text-align:justify;"><em>Press Statement of the European Alliance Group in the European Committee of the Regions</em></div><div style="text-align:justify;"> </div><div style="text-align:justify;">On the 1st October the Catalan people exercised their democratic right to express their opinion on the referendum in Catalonia on self-determination.  Unfortunately the unacceptable violence by the Guardia civil and sanctioned by the Spanish Government must be condemned by the European Union.</div><div style="text-align:justify;"><span style="line-height:1.6;"><br></span> </div><div style="text-align:justify;"><span style="line-height:1.6;">The European Alliance President Karl </span><span style="line-height:1.6;"></span><span style="line-height:1.6;"></span><span style="line-height:1.6;"></span><span style="line-height:1.6;"></span><span style="line-height:1.6;"></span><span style="line-height:1.6;">Vanlou</span><span style="line-height:1.6;">we and Member of the Flemish Parliament, called on the European Union institutions to condemn the heavy handed and oppressive tactics of the Spanish Government in Catalonia.  No EU Member State should be allowed to erode civil rights and democratic principles which are the basis of our common European project.</span></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><span style="line-height:1.6;"><br></span> </div><div style="text-align:justify;"><span style="line-height:1.6;">Mr Vanlouwe congratulated the Catalan people on exercising their democratic right via the ballot box.  </span></div>
COTER commission discusses EU budget with Commissioners Creţu and Oettinger, smart mobility with the European Parliament’s TRAN committeehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/COTER-discusses-EU-budget-with-Creţu-Oettinger-smart-mobility-with-European-Parliament-TRAN.aspx2017-09-25T22:00:00ZCOTER commission discusses EU budget with Commissioners Creţu and Oettinger, smart mobility with the European Parliament’s TRAN committee<div>​In the framework of the structural dialogue with territorial associations, members of the European Committee of the Regions’ Commission for Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) discussed the future of EU budget with the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu and the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Günther Oettinger. The debate took place following the publication of the Reflection paper on the future of EU finances, published in June this year.</div><div><br> </div><div>In the debate, members expressed their concern over possible reductions to cohesion policy allocations after 2020, which was mentioned in most scenarios in the Paper. EA members Marie Antoinette Maupertuis and Kieran Mccarthy reiterated their call for a strong cohesion policy which would need to be simpler, more flexible and reflecting the need of local territories.</div><div> </div><div>On the same day, the COTER commission held its second joint meeting with the European Parliament’s TRAN committee. Members had the opportunity to discuss about smart mobility solutions and opportunities to support regions and cities in innovating transport systems with the rapporteurs on the EU strategy on the low emission mobility and Cooperative Intelligent Transport systems.</div><div><br> </div><div>During the debate, Ms Maupertuis stressed that innovation in transport must not contribute to the widening of the digital divide between highly connected urban and isolated rural areas and peripheral regions.​</div>
Cllr Stenson's opinion on smart villages adopted with unanimous agreement in the NAT commissionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Cllr-Stenson's-opinion-on-smart-villages-adopted-with-unanimous-agreement-in-the-NAT-commission.aspx2017-09-25T22:00:00ZCllr Stenson's opinion on smart villages adopted with unanimous agreement in the NAT commission<div>​Europe is changing and we are witnessing a technological and societal revolution. Rural areas are not immune to all these challenges. Smart Villages refers to rural areas and communities which build on their existing strengths and assets to develop new opportunities in this changing environment.</div><div><br> </div><div>The concept is very wide and covers a range of policy areas, such as smart farming, urban-rural synergies, sustainability, transport, digital connectivity and others. This is because rural areas have great but insufficiently employed assets which can unlock their full economic potential and turn them into development and innovation hubs.</div><div><br> </div><div><span style="line-height:1.6;">Leitrim County Councillor Enda Stenson delivered his opinion at the NAT commission on the 26th September where he looked at current practices in various regions across Europe and propose a set of measures to revitalize rural areas in a number of challenging areas, such as economic development, demographic change, digital divide with cities, transport links and others.</span></div><div><br> </div><div>​The initiative is very timely as the European Commission in April launched a reflection exercise called "EU Action for Smart Villages" which looks into the existing instruments and policies which could be better used to tackle challenges rural areas are facing.</div><div><span style="line-height:1.6;"><br></span> </div><div><span style="line-height:1.6;">After its unanimous agreement in the NAT commission the Smart Villages opinion is set to be discussed at the CoR plenary in November.</span></div>
M.A Maupertuis meets Commissioner Creţu to discuss EU policies for islands http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/M.A-Maupertuis-meets-Commissioner-Creţu-to-discuss-EU-policies-for-islands-.aspx2017-09-25T22:00:00ZM.A Maupertuis meets Commissioner Creţu to discuss EU policies for islands <p>On 26 September, Executive member of the Corsican regional authority Ms Marie Antoinette Maupertuis met with European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu, Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chairman of the EP Searica Intergroup Tonino Picula and the Economic and Social Committee member S. Mallia to discuss the challenges of islands and cohesion policy.</p><p>During the meeting the members of the CoR, European Parliament and EESC highlighted the cohesion policy's fundamental role in addressing the needs of all regions, in particular those suffering from geographic and demographic constraints, and called on the European Commission to place special attention to island territories.</p><p>Ms Maupertuis, who is also CoR rapporteur on entrepreneurship on islands, stated that we need to develop a new methodology that would allow islanders to fully benefit from the single market and that the support through cohesion policy is now needed more than ever to cope with the higher costs faced by island businesses and citizens.<br></p>
Delegation from BIPA discuss BREXIThttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Delegation-from-BIPA-discuss-BREXIT.aspx2017-09-25T22:00:00ZDelegation from BIPA discuss BREXIT<p>​A delegation from the British-Irish Parliamentary Association met the CoR President and a number of members of the CoR including Cllr Tony Buchanan, Vice Chair of the EA group.</p><p>The group discussed BREXIT implications for local and regional government, the work of the CoR and in particular the Conference of Presidents' engagement with regional and local governments.  Cllr Buchanan said that while it is the position of the British Government to leave, this is not the wish of Scotland and every solution needs to also respect the Scottish perspective.<br></p>
European Alliance Group President says Spanish Government action in Catalonia must be condemned by the European Unionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/European-Alliance-Group-President-says-Spanish-Government-action-in-Catalonia-must-be-condemned-by-the-European-Union.aspx2017-09-20T22:00:00ZEuropean Alliance Group President says Spanish Government action in Catalonia must be condemned by the European Union<p>During an informative briefing on the upcoming Catalan referendum of self-determination organised by the EA Group in the Committee of the Regions, Amadeu Altafaj, the representative of the Government of Catalonia to the European Union defended the democratic legitimacy of its government to follow on the mandate received from the Catalan people and its Parliament.</p><p>On the 1st October the Catalan people will have an opportunity to freely express their opinion on the right of Catalonia to self-determination and a massive, peaceful participation would be the best response to the acts of repression and intimidation by the Spanish Government.</p><p>The European Alliance President Karl Vanlouwe and Member of the Flemish Parliament, called on the European Union institutions to condemn the heavy handed and oppressive tactics of the Spanish Government in Catalonia.  No EU Member State should be allowed to erode civil rights and democratic principles which are the basis of our common European project.   The people of Catalonia have a democratic right to express their wishes through the ballot box and it is not acceptable that the freedoms taken for granted in the European Union are being suppressed by the Spanish Government.</p>
Cllr Hughie McGrath hosted European Alliance delegation to discuss policies to regenerate town centreshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Cllr-Hughie-McGrath-hosted-European-Alliance-delegation-to-discuss-policies-to-regenerate-town-centres.aspx2017-09-11T22:00:00ZCllr Hughie McGrath hosted European Alliance delegation to discuss policies to regenerate town centres<p>​Cllr Hughie McGrath, Tipperary County Council hosted a delegation from the European Alliance Group in the European Committee of the Regions to discuss EU policies to regenerate town centres.  The Group members are elected politicians from across Europe including Poland, Romania, Estonia, Scotland and Flanders.  The objective was to examine how EU funding and policies needs to be adjusted to reflect also the needs of towns and their centres.</p><p>Cllr McGrath said that he has raised on many occasions the need to look at rural towns and he felt it was important that people see the situation on the ground and in particular in Nenagh.  He further added that towns lose out on funding due to the fact they are too small to be eligible for urban funding but too big to receive rural funding and this needs to change.</p><p>The President of the European Alliance Group and Member of the Flemish Parliament Mr Karl Vanlouwe welcomed the invitation to Nenagh and highlighted that the situation of town centres was similar across the European Union and clearly EU policies needed to adapt and reflect the reality of towns.</p><p>Participants in the meeting included Members of the Dáil (Irish Parliament), Jackie Cahill TD (Fianna Fáil) and Alan Kelly TD (Labour). The delegation will meet local politicians, Tipperary County Council manager the director of the Southern Regional Assembly and local chambers of commerce.<br></p>
BREXIT the focus of European Alliance bureau meeting in the Irish Houses of Parliament http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/BREXIT-the-focus-of-European-Alliance-bureau-meeting-in-the-Irish-Houses-of-Parliament-.aspx2017-09-10T22:00:00ZBREXIT the focus of European Alliance bureau meeting in the Irish Houses of Parliament <p>​The implication of BREXIT on Ireland and the European Union was the focus of the European Alliance bureau visit to the Houses of the Oireachtas (Parliament) in Dublin on this week.  The delegation met with Mr Darragh O'Brien, TD, Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade who outlined the worrying aspects of BREXIT for the Irish Economy and its Citizens and also a call for a "special economic zone" for Northern Ireland.</p><p>The delegation also held a meeting with Senator Neale Richmond, Fine Gael Senate spokesperson on Europe and also Chair of the Special Select Committee on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.  He outlined the impact of BREXIT on a range of areas of relevance to local and regional governments.</p><p>European Alliance President Karl Vanlouwe said that it was fundamentally important to ensure that everyone was aware of the implications of BREXIT and that this is subject to ongoing discussions in the Flemish Parliament.  He in particular drew attention to the ports of Flanders as one of many examples where it would have an impact.  He welcomed the discussions with the Irish Members of the Dáil and Seanad.<br></p>
EA Group condemns the barbaric attacks in Cataloniahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/EA-GROUP-CONDEMS-BARBARIC-ATTACK-IN-BARCELONA.aspx2017-08-17T22:00:00ZEA Group condemns the barbaric attacks in Catalonia<p>​We are deeply shocked and saddened by the barbaric attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils where innocent people lost their lives.</p><p>In this very difficult moment, we would like to express our solidarity with the Catalan people and offer our condolences to the families and the loved ones of the victims.</p><p>Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.</p><p>"We will not be intimidated by terrorist attacks and violence and we will stand united to uphold  and protect our fundamental values and freedoms", said the President of the European Alliance Group Karl Vanlouwe. <br></p>
Karl Vanlouwe elected President of the European Alliance grouphttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Karl-Vanlouwe-elected-President-of-the-European-Alliance-group.aspx2017-07-12T22:00:00ZKarl Vanlouwe elected President of the European Alliance group<p>​At this week's European Committee of the Regions mid-term mandate plenary session, Mr Karl Vanlouwe succeeded Mr Stanis<span><span>ł</span></span>aw Szwabski as EA Group President. </p><p>A lawyer by profession, Mr Vanlouwe has been a member of the Senate-the upper house of Belgium's Federal Parliament- since 2010, where he has acted as a chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense (2010 – 2014) and currently is First Vice-President (2014 – present).</p><p>Since 2014 he is also member of the Flemish Parliament where he is working on the Committee for Foreign Policy, European Affairs and International Co-operation (Commissie voor Buitenlands Beleid, Europese Aangelegenheden en Internationale Samenwerking), as well as on the Committee for Brussels and its Flemish Periphery (Commissie voor Brussel en de Vlaamse Rand). Mr Vanlouwe was first elected to the European Committee of the Regions in 2015.</p><p>Coming from the Flemish coastal area, Mr Vanlouwe today lives in the Brussels municipality Ganshoren together with his wife Annelies. He is fluent in Dutch, French and English. In his spare time, he likes to read or to go cycling in the Brussels Laarbeekbos. Mr Vanlouwe is also active in several associations, such as the Veeweyde animal shelter in Anderlecht (Brussels). <br></p><p>During today's Group meeting, the newly elected President said: "As a regionalist group, the European Alliance has a big role to play in the years to come. There will be the Brexit debate, where we need to consider the position of regions within the United Kingdom that clearly voted against a Brexit. Likewise, we need to deliberate the impact of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement, as well as on the economy of Flanders amongst other regions. There will be the Catalan referendum on the first of October. Moreover we are witnessing troublesome political developments in Eastern Europe." The President underlined the European motto 'In varietate concordia' and emphasized that it is the strength of the European Alliance Group to promote this diversity. <br></p><p>Mr Stanisław Szwabski, Member of Gdynia City Council (Poland), has been elected Vice-President of the Group.</p>
Winning students participate in the European Committee of the Regions Plenary in Brusselshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Winning-students-participate-in-the-European-Committee-of-the-Regions-Plenary-in-Brussels.aspx2017-07-12T22:00:00ZWinning students participate in the European Committee of the Regions Plenary in Brussels <p class="MsoNormal">Winners of the last edition of the EA/CoR Secondary Schools Competition participated in the European Committee of the Regions plenary session held in Brussels on the 12-13 July.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The 12<sup>th</sup> edition of the competition took place in Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Scotland and Slovakia, and involved pupils aged between 14-18 years. The first stage of the competition was a multiple choice test that assessed the pupils' knowledge on the European Union and the EU institutions, while the second one was to write an essay on the role of young people for the future success of the EU.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Pupils from each participating school with the best results in both stages participated in a three-day study trip to Brussels on the 11-13<sup>th</sup> July 2017. A total of 21 students and teachers participated. They met the current President and the 1<sup>st</sup> Vice President of the CoR, Mr Markku Markkula and Mr Karl-Heinz Lambertz, as well as the members of the European Alliance group.</p><p class="MsoHeader">As part of their trip, the young students had the opportunity to visit the European Parliament and to learn about the history of the European Union at the European House of History. They also enjoyed discovering beautiful Brussels through a tour of its historical city centre.</p><p class="MsoHeader">After meeting the pupils at the CoR, Mr Szwabski said: "This is the twelfth year that the EA Group has organized a schools competition which brings together young students from different countries and regions of Europe. This competition celebrates the diversity of Europe's regions and stands every year as an example of how the European institutions can strengthen the bonds with their local roots, as well as with the generation shaping the future of the EU."<span>  </span><span>                        </span></p>
M.A. Maupertuis, future of transport: linking island and peripheral areas to main TEN-T corridors is imperative to ensure territorial cohesionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Maupertuis-future-transport-linking-island-peripheral-areas-main-TEN-T-corridors-imperative.aspx2017-07-12T22:00:00ZM.A. Maupertuis, future of transport: linking island and peripheral areas to main TEN-T corridors is imperative to ensure territorial cohesion<p>​On 13 June Commissioner Bulc addressed the CoR plenary session to debate on the future of EU transport policy, focussing in particular on low emission mobility.</p><p>During the debate the EA coordinator in the COTER commission and member of the Executive Council of Corsica, Marie Antoinette Maupertuis pointed out that transport is a key element to ensure the efficiency of the single market and to achieve economic social and territorial cohesion.</p><p>During her speech she highlighted the necessity for island and peripheral regions to be linked with main transport corridors in order to promote their economic development and convergence.</p><p>She also upheld the commitment of Corsica and other islands, through the smart island initiative,  to increasing their share of renewable energies and the use of clean for of transport though the transition to a low carbon economy is for islands more burdensome and expensive, as demographic fundamental result also in more limited fiscal resources.</p><p>At the margin of the debate Commissioner Bulc and CoR President formally launched the clean bus initiative, a platform where cities and regions could play a key role for the early deployment of buses and corresponding infrastructure.   <br></p>
Wróbel discussing Estonian Presidency priorities with Mr Matti Maasikas, Estonian Deputy Minister of European Affairshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Wróbel-Estonian-Presidency-priorities-Matti-Maasikas-European-Affairs.aspx2017-07-12T22:00:00ZWróbel discussing Estonian Presidency priorities with Mr Matti Maasikas, Estonian Deputy Minister of European Affairs<p>​At the Plenary session on 13 July the debate on Estonian Presidency took place with Mr Matti Maasikas, Estonian Deputy Minister of European Affairs. On behalf of the EA Group Mr Dariusz Wróbel, EA coordinator for CIVEX commission discussing the priorities of the Estonian Presidency, focused on the Eastern Partnership and emphasised the importance of supporting the reforms of the Eastern partners to bring them closer to the EU but respecting their habits. Eastern Partnership Summit taking place during the Estonian Presidency to achieve ambitious and motivating results at the Eastern Partnership Summit it is important to take into consideration the CORLEAP recommendations, as the CoR as the institution works closely with LRAs from this countries. It is necessary that the EU support the Eastern partners’ enthusiasm to continue reforming their countries and societies.</p><p>The effectiveness of the EU's involvement with the Eastern Partnership countries requires the highest degree of participation of local communities, which are becoming increasingly active. It should be considered that local and regional authorities are well placed to support the development of a strong civil society and to help ensure the democratisation and modernisation of local communities. It is also essential to make more resources available for cross-border cooperation, with special focus on people-to-people contacts, partnerships between local authorities, and scientific, cultural and youth exchanges" said Mr Dariusz Wróbel, Burmistrz Opola Lubelskiego,. "The extension of the Small Project Fund to neighbourhood countries could boost cooperation at grass-root level" he added.<br></p>
CoR Plenary adopts unanimously Mr Truskolaski's opinion on starts-ups and scale-upshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CoR-Plenary-adopts-unanimously-Mr-Truskolaski's-opinion-on-starts-ups-and-scale-ups.aspx2017-07-11T22:00:00ZCoR Plenary adopts unanimously Mr Truskolaski's opinion on starts-ups and scale-ups<p>​During the CoR Plenary session on 12 July 2017 the opinion of Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski, European Alliance coordinator on the ECON committee on StartUp – ScaleUp initiative was adopted unanimously. The Rapporteur highlighted the role for cities and local authorities in promoting StartUp and ScaleUp business. He also stressed  the need for funding to be accessible, innovative and flexible for new business start-ups. There is a need to be common EU rules on insolvency and that the situation where every Member State and region has a different system is unsustainable.</p><p>Supporting innovative entrepreneurship and dismantling the obstacles to its development through improved access to finance and the single market, better connections between regional entrepreneurial ecosystems and raising awareness about the need to give failed but honest entrepreneurs a second chance are the objectives of an opinion. </p><p>"We have to work together and be even more ambitious and proactive if we want to build strong entrepreneurial ecosystems in our cities and regions. If companies find the right framework locally they can be successful globally. That's why we need to create the right circumstances to allow the next generation of success stories to grow in Europe, stimulating growth and development across the entire Union", said rapporteur Tadeusz Truskolaski, Mayor of Białystok.</p>
"Sea free of plastic and other polluters should be our common goal", says Cllr Tony Buchanan, rapporteur on Oceans Governancehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Sea-plastic-common-goal-Buchanan-Oceans-Governance.aspx2017-07-11T22:00:00Z"Sea free of plastic and other polluters should be our common goal", says Cllr Tony Buchanan, rapporteur on Oceans Governance<p>​Members of the CoR approved the recommendations of Tony Buchanan, councillor from East Renfrewshire, on Ocean Governance on 12 July during Plenary Session. Local and regional leaders have thrown their backing behind the European Union's wish to clear the sea of plastic, and they also urge the EU to embrace additional ambitious measures – ranging from tackling waste dumped at sea to protected zones – intended to clean and revive the oceans. </p><p>Anthony Buchanan suggests in his opinion that the EU may need to offer incentives to other countries if it is to address the over-arching problems of fragmented responsibility in many areas and a lack of responsibility – the "tragedy of the commons" – in other areas of the oceans. </p><p>"Ocean Governance may seem a matter that is far from the immediate interest of most LRAs even costal ones. However issues that happen on the other side of the oceans can have impact (environmental, economic and social) in our shores, and vice versa. Furthermore, LRAs do often have legal and financial powers that have a bearing on the good health of our seas such as pollution prevention. Therefore, this opinion aims to scope the crucial and positive contribution that our authorities can make to the well-being and prosperity of our seas"- said Cllr Tony Buchanan after adoption of his opinion.</p><p>While the opinion highlights the impact of plastic waste – from bottles to micro-plastics, tiny beads of plastics used in many everyday consumer products – it throws a spotlight on a range of commonly ignored waste products dumped at say, calling for the EU to adopt a "joint plan for the eventual removal of substances at sea such as munitions, chemicals and nuclear materials". <br></p>
"Science for All": talking to Commissioner Moedas, Kieran McCarthy advocates for pan-European inclusion of science and innovation in school curriculahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/McCarthy-inclusion-science-innovation-school-curricula.aspx2017-07-11T22:00:00Z"Science for All": talking to Commissioner Moedas, Kieran McCarthy advocates for pan-European inclusion of science and innovation in school curricula<p>​On 12 July, during the 124th plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions, members hosted Mr Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation who presented some possible directions for the future evolution of the Horizon 2020 programme.</p><p>Speaking on behalf of the EA group, Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy stressed the need to break the silos between disciplines, policies and programmes and the need to inspire Europe with mission-driven research and innovation.</p><p>Mr McCarthy called for a more central role for the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and a better connection between the work done there, the research within the Horizon 2020 programme and the innovation elements of the cohesion policy.</p><p>Secondly, Mr McCarthy, who also authored the CoR opinion on "Building a European Data Economy," talked about the crucial importance of inspiring Europe and capturing public imagination in science and innovation. He argued that ten per cent or more of future funding should go to publicity and science and innovation must form a core part of school curricula across every member state and local authority area.  "It must be a science for all. Science and innovation is the future of Europe. And the future of Europe document must reflect this going forward as well," he concluded.</p><p>Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available in the period between 2014 and 2020. Currently, the programme is undergoing its mid-term view with vivid debates on its post-2020 evolution and, in particular, its relation to the EU's cohesion policy.<br></p>
“Education above everything”, Marek Tramś praises EU-financed education projects in Polkowice districthttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Education-above-everything.aspx2017-07-04T22:00:00Z“Education above everything”, Marek Tramś praises EU-financed education projects in Polkowice district<p>​PLN 34 154 387.62 — this is the amount the Polkowice district has received from the European Union in the past ten years. The largest proportion - more than 38% - was obtained by the district for scholarship projects, work placements abroad, refitting of workshops, and recently for the thermal modernisation of the School Complex in Polkowice. More than PLN 11 million was received for land surveying and reparcelling in Koźlice and Szklary Dolne. "We have used EU money to finance investments in environmental protection, as well as projects to promote employment and combat social exclusion, and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the local authority", said Marek Tramś, Head of Polkowice district.</p><p>"The key objective of EU programmes is to improve local people's living standards." Mr Tramś added that "as a highly developed district, with the lowest unemployment rate in the country, we were not eligible to benefit from many funds for the development and modernisation of infrastructure, but we still obtained substantial amounts, especially now in the framework of EU regional programme funds".</p><p>The Peoples of the United Europe School Complex will be undergoing comprehensive renovation. The school building dates from the 1990s, and after 20 years of use its façade is showing signs of wear and it lacks proper thermal insulation; it will therefore be undergoing general renovation. Thermal modernisation, i.e. additional insulation, will mean that there will no longer be excessive heat loss from the school buildings. It is also planned to replace the existing lighting with LED systems, thereby reducing energy consumption. The renovation will mean that the school will pay less for heating in winter and that learning and working conditions for teachers and pupils will be significantly improved.</p><p>"This project is necessary, particularly with a view to improving conditions for learning, but also in order to save on future maintenance costs", says Marek Tramś. </p><p>"Since last January we have been carrying out a project financed by the European Social Fund entitled "Change in education means success for our children!", adds the Head of Polkowice district. The total project value is PLN 618 270.66. Extra-curricular activities for pupils have already begun in biology, chemistry, physics, geography, mathematics, foreign languages, IT and business studies. EEG Biofeedback equipment was bought for the purposes of specialised courses for pupils. Educational and careers advice and psychological and educational counselling has also been launched. Project implementation will end on 31 July 2018.</p><p>Despite the numerous educational projects already implemented, the district has submitted a further application for co-financing of an educational project for the practical vocational preparation of pupils for the needs of the labour market, under Action 10.4 of the Lower Silesia Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020. </p><p>"This is another project submitted by the district this year under the Regional Operational Programme”, Marek Tramś points out. "We are waiting for applications for a total amount of PLN 5.5 million in EU funding to be processed."</p><p>The aim of the project is to improve the employment opportunities of 200 pupils from the technical and vocational schools at the school complexes in Chocianów and Polkowice. The projects will be implemented in cooperation between the Polkowice district and two district school authorities. Cooperation with employers is planned in the form of traineeships and apprenticeships for 172 pupils and specialised courses for 100 pupils. The activities will also include: a scholarship programme for talented students, career guidance, college and vocational courses. Young people will benefit from activities in a refitted advertising workshop, as well an IT and tourism workshop. There will also be courses and postgraduate studies for teachers and careers advisers.<br></p>
ENVE calls for local and regional targets to address climate changehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/ENVE-calls-for-local-and-regional-targets-to-address-climate-change.aspx2017-07-03T22:00:00ZENVE calls for local and regional targets to address climate change<p>​On 4 July, the ENVE commission met in Tallinn under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The topics of environment and climate change were on top of the agenda. ENVE members adopted the opinion of the EA member Andrew Cooper on the ‘Environmental Implementation Review’ (EIR), a tool to improve the implementation of environmental law and policy across the European Union by addressing the causes of implementation gaps.</p><p>In his opinion Andrew Cooper highlights the central role of local governments in implementing environmental laws and the need for more support to strengthen their administrative capacity. Moreover he recommends  that new policy areas to be added to the EIR such as chemicals, industrial emissions and action on climate change. </p><p>The opinion requests that  ‘the European Commission works with relevant national authorities, the European Committee of the Regions, the EU Covenant of Mayors, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and ICLEI to develop the concept and methodologies for introducing Local and Regionally Determined Contributions, thereby contributing towards climate change targets agreed under the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement.’</p><p>"This opinion, said Councillor Cooper,  could form the basis for a template for reporting local and regional action across the globe, giving the opportunity for partnerships with organizations like the US Conference of Mayors who are opposing President Trump’s decision to pull out of the obligations of the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement”.</p><p>During the meeting ENVE members also discussed the opinion on climate finance ahead of COP23, that aims at speeding up financial flows and  simplifying access to existing funding schemes,  the space strategy for Europe and the role of waste-to-energy in the circular economy.</p>
Mikel Irujo Amezaga participates in COTER-REGI joint hearing on the Urban Agendahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Mikel-Irujo-Amezaga-participates-in-COTER-REGI-joint-hearing-on-the-Urban-Agenda.aspx2017-06-28T22:00:00ZMikel Irujo Amezaga participates in COTER-REGI joint hearing on the Urban Agenda<p>​On 29 June EP REGI and CoR COTER committees held a joint hearing on the implementation of the Urban Agenda in the European Parliament. Through pilot partnerships, European cities have joined forces with national, regional governments as well as the EU institutions to address challenges such as migration, air quality, fight against poverty and housing and will present soon their action plans.<br></p><p>Debating with experts from the cities who outlined the activities of their partnerships, members stressed the importance to ensure coordination among different policies that have an impact on urban areas and to involve also smaller scale cities and municipalities.The EA member Mikel Irujo Amezaga reaffirmed the commitment of the region of Navarra in the energy efficiency pilot partnership and called for a greater coordination of EU initiatives notably on circular economy, environment and air quality.</p><p>"Navarra is actively involved in a series of initiatives and ready to highly contribute to their success at local level. Nevertheless in order for the citizens to better understand their benefits, more synergies and coordination are necessary," he added.<br></p>
COTER debate on future of EU financeshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/COTER-debate-on-future-of-EU-finances.aspx2017-06-27T22:00:00ZCOTER debate on future of EU finances<p>​On 28 June COTER discussed the reflection paper on the future of EU finances that the European Commission released on the same day and adopted an opinion on own resources.</p><p>Members recalled the importance of cohesion policy as instrument to trigger investments and achieve territorial cohesion. At the same time some concerns were voiced as to the budget that may be allocated to this policy as most of the scenario presented by the Commission hint to a lower budget.</p><p>During the meeting, COTER members also adopted an opinion on the future of Connecting Europe Facility.</p><p>The EA member Ms Maupertuis, member of the Executive Council of Corsica highlighted the importance for TEN-T not to neglect links to peripheral regions that face constraints due to their location, such as islands and mountains.<br></p>
7th Cohesion Forum: M.A. Maupertuis calls for more attention to island territories and support for innovative projects http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/7th-Cohesion-Forum-M.A.-Maupertuis-calls-for-more-attention-to-island-territories-and-support-for-innovative-projects.aspx2017-06-26T22:00:00Z7th Cohesion Forum: M.A. Maupertuis calls for more attention to island territories and support for innovative projects <p>On 26-27 June 2017 Brussels hosted the 7Th Cohesion Forum, a large scale political event bringing together high level representatives from EU institutions, national governments, regional and local authorities. Speakers included President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat as well as EU Commissioners, national ministers and presidents of regions.</p><p>Participants highlighted the crucial importance of cohesion policy in promoting solidarity, convergence and investments across all EU regions. At the same time, different options have been discussed in the light of the scenarios outlined in the European Commission's White paper on the future of the EU, particularly regarding the need to fill gaps resulting from UK exit and to ensure an added value of EU policies. </p><p>Ms Marie Antoinette Maupertuis, member of the EA Group and of the Executive Council of the Corsica Regional authority took the floor during the Forum and called for future cohesion policy to particularly take into account the constraints of island and mountainous areas. She highlighted that "the future Cohesion policy should allow for greater combination between Structural and Investment Funds and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) so as to enable the financing of innovative projects and smart solutions supported by the use of ICT and targeting the management of infrastructures, natural resources and environment."</p>
Szwabski meets Welsh Assembly external affairs committee and Plaid Cymru member Steffan Lewishttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Szwabski-meets-Welsh-Assembly-external-affairs-committee-and-Plaid-Cymru-member-Steffan-Lewis.aspx2017-06-26T22:00:00ZSzwabski meets Welsh Assembly external affairs committee and Plaid Cymru member Steffan Lewis<p>A delegation from the Welsh Assembly's external affairs committee today visited the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) to present their views on the implications UK withdrawal from the EU will have on Wales.</p><p>Participating in the meeting, European Alliance group President Mr Stanisław Szwabski highlighted the CoR resolution on Brexit which particularly stressed the importance of Irish Sea cooperation, European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) and other ways of continued cooperation.  Mr Szwabski also welcomed Plaid Cymru member Steffan Lewis AM and outlined the excellent work of Plaid Cymru members in the CoR.</p><p>Mr Steffan Lewis called for a new type of creative cooperation with Wales which would allow the Country remain in the Single Market and stressed that the 'Repeal bill' should not be reduced to a power grab by Westminster.</p>
Szwabski meets Scottish First Minister in Edinburghhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Szwabski-meets-Scottish-First-Minister-in-Edinburgh.aspx2017-06-21T22:00:00ZSzwabski meets Scottish First Minister in Edinburgh During a visit of the Conference of Presidents to the Scottish Parliament, the European Alliance Group President Mr Stanislaw Szwabski met with the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as well as a number of key members of the Scottish Parliament and Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee.<br><br>The purpose of the visit was to hear from members the worrying consequences that BREXIT will have for Scotland with a risk for many job losses as well as severe consequences to EU citizens living in Scotland.<br><br>Members of the delegation have undertaken to report back the findings of the visit to the European Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier.<br><br><br><p>More information is available on <a href="http://cor.europa.eu/en/news/Pages/Political-leaders-visit-Edinburgh0622-366.aspx">this link</a>.</p><p>To watch the hearing of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee please see the <a href="http://www.scottishparliament.tv/Archive/Index/c40fb4f4-cc1d-4249-8504-c19f981204b8?categoryId=efe5986a-b387-4099-8438-a11c856c7529&parentCategoryClicked=False&pageNumber=1&orderByField=ScheduledStart&queryOrder=DESC">following link</a>.</p>
Karl Vanlouwe emphasises the necessity of an effective integration policy at high-level conference on migration management in the European Parliamenthttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Karl-Vanlouwe-emphasises-necessity-effective-integration-policy-conference-migration-management-European-Parliament.aspx2017-06-20T22:00:00ZKarl Vanlouwe emphasises the necessity of an effective integration policy at high-level conference on migration management in the European Parliament<p>​​​​On 21 June, the European Parliament hosted a high-level conference on migration management with the aim to emphasize the urgency of the topic and raise additional awareness ahead of the June European Council which is due to evaluate the progress on the implementation of the Malta Declaration and the external aspects of migration. The conference saw participation by President of the European Parliament, Mr Antonio Tajani, President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Federica Mogherini and a number of other stakeholders, including members of the European Committee of the Regions.</p><p>Speaking at the conference, member of the Flemish Parliament, EA Group coordinator in the CIVEX commission and CoR rapporteur on the "Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals", Mr Karl Vanlouwe underlined that migrants need to be fully integrated in the society so that they don't remain newcomers forever. He took the example of Flanders, where the integration policy prescribes mandatory benchmarks based on the acquisition of language and civic integration, the former aiming to ensure that newcomers interact with their new community and the latter referring to the transmission of norms and values so that newcomers become citizens through their mind-sets. He also added that migration policy should be channelled through local and regional authorities, as they are the first to be confronted with the specific opportunities and challenges involved in the process. </p><p>Participants agreed that the conference could be the starting point of a process leading to strengthened interinstitutional cooperation in the area of migration.</p><p>Mr Vanlouwe's opinion on the "Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals" was adopted with unanimity at the Committee of the Regions' plenary session in December 2016.</p>
Cllr Andrew Cooper discusses free insulation schemes and environmental implementation reviewhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Cllr-Andrew-Cooper-discusses-free-insulation-schemes-and-environmental-implementation-review.aspx2017-06-19T22:00:00ZCllr Andrew Cooper discusses free insulation schemes and environmental implementation review <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​On 20 June Councillor of Kirklees Andrew Cooper took part in a "Innovative Solutions for the Public Sector for the Financing of Buildings' Energy Renovation" conference organised by ARENE Île-de-France in partnership with Énergies POSIT’IF and FEDARENE. The event was arranged in the framework of the European Union Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) and its aim was to present suitable and innovative financial instruments for the refurbishment of buildings, as well as to show the role of local and regional governments in the implementation of Energy Efficiency projects.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">Cllr Cooper's intervention focused on "Kirklees Warm Zone", a project that boasts the largest local authority home insulation scheme in the UK and provides free loft and cavity wall insulation to every suitable household in Kirklees.<br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">After pointing out the benefits of the free insulation scheme and showing the work done on financing and promoting the project, Cllr Cooper gave a short overview of his "Opinion on the Environment Implementation Review (EIR)", which is due to be discussed on July the 3rd at the next ENVE Commission meeting in Tallin, having already gone through the first round of debate last month.  <br></span></p>
SEDEC commission adopts with unanimity Kieran McCarthy opinion on building a European Data Economyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/SEDEC-commission-adopts-with-unanimity-Kieran-McCarthy-opinion-on-building-a-European-Data-Economy.aspx2017-06-07T22:00:00ZSEDEC commission adopts with unanimity Kieran McCarthy opinion on building a European Data Economy<p>​​​​​​​​​On its meeting on 8 June 2017, members of the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) adopted unanimously the opinion "<strong><em>Building a European Data Economy</em></strong>", drafted by Mr <strong>Kieran McCarthy</strong>, Councillor in the Cork City Council.</p><p>In the opinion, Cllr. McCarthy proposed four lines of action to build a European data economy:<br></p><ul><li>Balancing transparency and innovation: creating a clear and adapted policy and legal framework for the data economy, removing remaining barriers and risks to the movement of data and addressing legal uncertainties created by new data technologies.</li></ul><ul><li>Fostering the potential of General Data Protection Regulation: adopting strong data protection rules which can create the trust that will allow the development of digital economy across the internal market, addressing of forms of potential virtual criminality and the creation of effective and coherent preventative strategies.</li></ul><ul><li>Developing the generation of data flows: insisting on the traceability and clear identification of data sources as a precondition for real control of data in the market because personal data generation raises questions in all policy areas of local and regional government. </li></ul><ul><li>Improving interoperability: taking steps to make existing clouds or clouds under development at national, regional and possibly local level interconnectable and interoperable, exploiting the potential for standardisation.</li></ul><p>Representatives of the European Commission welcomed the opinion as a clear and important message that local and regional authorities need and want to play a key role in the sustainable roll-out of the EU's Digital Agenda and the building of the EU data economy.</p><p>The opinion is set to be adopted by the European Committee of the Regions' plenary session in October this year.<br><br><strong>Background</strong></p><p>The Data Economy involves generation, collection, storage, processing, distribution, analysis, elaboration, delivery and exploitation of data enabled by digital technologies. This data enable market players to create applications with a great potential to improve daily life. The collation of data is an important element of the Digital Single Market (DSM). Local and regional authorities are keys in developing DSM via their roles in providing digital services, which represent the engine of economic growth at local and regional level offering opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.<br></p>
COTER holds seminar on cross-border cooperation in Ispra, Italyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/COTER-holds-seminar-on-cross-border-cooperation-in-Ispra,-Italy.aspx2017-06-06T22:00:00ZCOTER holds seminar on cross-border cooperation in Ispra, Italy <p class="MsoPlainText">​​​​​On 7 June, President of the EA group, Mr Stanisław Szwabski led a delegation of EA members who took part in the Commission for Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) seminar on cross-border cooperation projects held in Ispra, Italy.</p><p class="MsoPlainText">The participants discussed key elements which enable the success of cross-border cooperation with a particular focus on transport and trans-European mobility.</p><p class="MsoPlainText">The discussions highlighted the importance of TEN-T links with local and regional networks and looked into solutions to facilitate cross-border projects.</p><p class="MsoPlainText">The members also had the opportunity to visit the Alptransit Ceneri Base tunnel project, a 15 km long railway route, which will become operational in 2020. This project could be considered as example of progress made towards the objective of INTERREG Italy -Switzerland project.</p><p class="MsoPlainText">In addition to Mr Szwabski, EA members who took part in the meeting include Ms Gillian Ford (London Borough of Havering, UK), Mr Kieran McCarthy (Cork City Council, Ireland), Mr Marc Hendrickx (Flemish Parliament, Flanders), Mr Uno Silberg (Kose Municipality, Estonia), Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski (City of Białystok, Poland) and Mr Józef Kotyś (Opolskie Regional Assembly, Poland).<br></p>
Szwabski holds Citizens debate in Gdyniahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Szwabski-holds-Citizens-debate-in-Gdynia.aspx2017-06-01T22:00:00ZSzwabski holds Citizens debate in Gdynia<p>On 2 June 2017, EA group's President Mr Stanisław Szwabski, together with the City of Gdynia, hosted a European Committee of the Regions' citizens' debate "Europe – What Future?" as part of the European Committee of the Regions' Reflecting on Europe series. </p><p>Speakers in the debate included Members of the European Parliament, Mr Janusz Lewandowski and Mr Jan Olbrycht, Members of the European Committee of the Regions, Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski and Mr Stanisław Szwabski, as well as the Deputy Head of the European Commission's Representation Office in Poland – Ms Marzena Guz-Vetter. </p><p>While opening the debate, Mr Szwabski said: "This is an extremely important moment for the European Union, where nothing is yet decided. Europe is at a difficult point at the moment, and there are a number of crises ... Solidarity, our beautiful Polish word, but also a beautiful concept of interpersonal cooperation, is an important element that must play a decisive role in the future of Europe because Europe is built on solidarity."</p><p>Mayor of Białystok and EA group's member Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski recalled that most of Europe, except for the Balkans and now Ukraine, has not experienced war for more than 70 years. "This is another generation that grows in peace. This is a huge success," he pointed out, adding that "young people do not appreciate achievements such as the Schengen zone because they do not know how it is to stand 18 or 20 hours in a car without the use of a toilet or a wash." He further noted: "Someone who has experienced such degradation at the borders, queues, checks, detailed inspections… and I have experienced it several times, appreciates the current situation."</p><p>Truskolaski further said that, thanks to Poland's membership in the EU, Białystok has, in the last 10 years, seen a total of PLN 4 billion worth of investments. "Without the EU, it would have taken us at least 50 years, i.e. five times more," he noted, adding that he is a Eurorealist who sees that something absurd is happening in the EU and that needs to be said and changed, singling out the problems of overregulation and bureaucracy. </p><p>At the same time, he pointed out that if we compare all the successes and failures of the EU, the successes will win.</p><p>The debate, which was attended by around 200 people, and the Reflecting on Europe series aim to engage citizens into a dialogue about the future of the EU. The conclusions of the debate will be published soon. </p><p>You can see photos from the event on EA group's <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cor_european_alliance_group/albums/72157684816187705">official Flickr account</a><span>.</span></p><p>Press coverage (in Polish):</p><ul><li><a href="http://kobietawswiecie.pl/?p=7242">http://kobietawswiecie.pl/?p=7242</a></li><li><a href="http://samorzad.pap.pl/depesze/wiadomosci_centralne/174935/Jaka-Unia---Debata-w-Gdyni-wazy-sie-przyszly-ksztalt-UE">http://samorzad.pap.pl/depesze/wiadomosci_centralne/174935/Jaka-Unia---Debata-w-Gdyni-wazy-sie-przyszly-ksztalt-UE</a></li></ul>
EA members actively participate in 3rd COR Enlargement dayshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/EA-members-actively-participate-in-3rd-COR-Enlargement-days.aspx2017-05-31T22:00:00ZEA members actively participate in 3rd COR Enlargement days <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">On 31 May and 1 June, European Committee of the Regions hosted a number of representatives of local and regional authorities from Western Balkan countries and Turkey, in the framework of its annual Enlargement Day.<br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">On 31 May, members of the European Committee of the Regions and their counterparts from enlargement countries held four meetings, namely Joint Consultative Committee meetings with Serbian, Montenegrin and Turkish local authorities, as well as a meeting of the Working Group on the Western Balkans which, in this edition, dealt with the situations in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to general assessments of the enlargement process in each of the respective countries, and the role of local and regional authorities in it, topics discussed included sustainable urban development, difficulties in the use of pre-accession funds, promotion of entrepreneurship and the empowering of local authorities.<br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">During the Plenary session held on 1 June, the discussion was focused on the dynamics of the enlargement process and its importance in the stabilisation of the region, as well as on connectivity and building of transport and energy infrastructure in the Western Balkans.<br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">Councillor Hughie McGrath </span>(Tipperary County, Ireland), made closing remarks at the plenary session in which he called for the meetings with local and regional authorities from enlargement countries to be practical and show real value to the partners in the Western Balkans and Turkey. "We need to share our experiences – both good and bad", he said, adding that "this can be on diverse subjects, from energy efficiency to recycling; from social policy to creating local jobs." He concluded by saying that "doing this and linking it to the European Union's policy will make a real difference."</p><p class="MsoNormal">In addition to Cllr McGrath, for whom this was also the last meeting <span lang="EN-GB">as chair of the Joint Consultative Committee with Montenegro, EA group members who took part in the meetings include Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski (City of Bialystok, Poland) in the Joint Consultative Committee with Serbia, Mr Marc Hendrickx (Mechelen, Flanders) in the Working Group on the Western Balkans, Mr Józef Kotyś (Opolskie, Poland) in the Working Group on Turkey and Mr Uno Silberg (Kose Municipality, Estonia) who is a member of the Joint Consultative Committee with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.</span></p>
NAT commission adopts Cllr Buchanan opinion on International Ocean Governancehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/NAT-commission-adopts-Cllr-Buchanan-opinion-on-International-Ocean-Governance.aspx2017-05-31T22:00:00ZNAT commission adopts Cllr Buchanan opinion on International Ocean Governance <p class="MsoPlainText"><span lang="EN-GB">​​​The Committee of the Regions NAT commission has today overwhelmingly adopted an opinion by Cllr Tony Buchanan on International Ocean Governance.  Cllr Buchanan highlighted the need for the  EU to be a strong global player that is able to set out an agenda for better oceans governance based on a cross-sectoral, rules-based international approach.<br></span></p><p class="MsoPlainText"><span lang="EN-GB">He has also stressed that many issues related to ocean governance are inevitably local due to resource extraction, economic benefit for coastal areas, fishing communities and ports or their environmental impact on Europe's coasts and seas.  Crucially the wellbeing, safety and prosperity of our oceans is not just a matter for international institutions or large countries but our common responsibilities of countries regions and local communities have a stake in the future of our seas.<br></span></p><p class="MsoPlainText"><span lang="EN-GB">The opinion will be now discussed at the CoR Plenary in July.</span></p>
Cllr Hughie McGrath congratulates Montenegro for progress towards EU accessionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Cllr-Hughie-McGrath-congratulates-Montenegro-for-progress-towards-EU-accession.aspx2017-05-30T22:00:00ZCllr Hughie McGrath congratulates Montenegro for progress towards EU accession <p>​​​​​On 31 May, as part of the Enlargement day, the CoR/Montenegro Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) met in Brussels under the chairmanship of Cllr. Hughie McGrath (Tipperary Council, Ireland) and Aleksandar Bogdanović, Mayor of Cetinje.</p><p>In the presence of the Ambassador of Montenegro to the EU, Mr Bojan Šarkić, Cllr McGrath congratulated Montenegro for its imminent membership to NATO and for all the progress made in the negotiations towards EU accession since the last meeting.</p><p>The Ambassador Šarkić and participants called for a greater involvement of LRAs in the reforms as more than two thirds of legislation have to be implemented at the local level. They also welcomed the recent approval by the Montenegrin Parliament of legislation that will allow local authorities to receive financial help to pre-finance EU projects. </p><p>During the meeting, best practices of sustainable urban development projects were also showcased. In this respect, Cllr McGrath recalled that sustainability of towns very much depends on their capacity to link people and communities. We see more and more town centres losing their identity and economic activities as a result of the development of e-commerce. If we are to keep our towns sustainable and alive, we will have to think about new and innovative approaches to the regeneration of towns and cities.</p><p>The next meeting of the JCC will be held in the Montenegrin city of Danilovgrad in the end of September upon the invitation of Mayor Branislav Djuranović. </p><p><br></p>
Szwabski on CoR Conference of Presidents' fact-finding mission to earthquake-hit areas of Central Italyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Szwabski-on-CoR-Conference-of-Presidents'-fact-finding-mission-to-earthquake-hit-areas-of-Central-Italy.aspx2017-05-24T22:00:00ZSzwabski on CoR Conference of Presidents' fact-finding mission to earthquake-hit areas of Central Italy <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">On 24-25 May 2017, Mr Stanislaw Szwabski, Councillor of Gdynia City took part in a delegation of the European Committee of the Regions' Conference of Presidents which visited Central Italian regions hit by several e<span>arthquakes</span>. The goal of the mission was to show political support and solidarity with local and regional authorities in Italy and make EU support to disaster-stricken areas more effective. The objective was also to exchange best practices: to receive information on the state of play and the strategy for managing the impact of the earthquakes by each region, with a view to translating this into policy recommendations.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">In 2016 and 2017, Central Italy was hit by violent seismic activities, concentrated in the regions of Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo and Marche killing over 300 people leaving thousands of others homeless. </span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">The CoR members agreed that the Italian response to this devastating earthquake showed that local and regional governments, being on the frontline of disaster response, know best how to prepare and cope with such situations. That is why upper levels of government need to listen to their voice and stimulate cooperation and the sharing of best practices as that is the right way to create a faster EU emergency response to future catastrophes.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">In response to these calls, on Wednesday 24 May the European Council and European Parliament reached a provisional deal on aid for regions hit by disasters which stipulates that the European Union may meet up to 95% of the cost of reconstruction in local disaster zones, compared to current 50%. The agreement now needs to be officially approved by both institutions.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">EA Group President said: "</span><span lang="EN-GB">The people of central Italy have been hit by a series of disasters that have brought severe hardship to the population and handicaps to the regions affected. The most important task of the authorities and institutions is to show their support and solidarity, also in practical terms, and to show unity to fight fear and give hope for the future to the citizens touched by these events. As a Group we will work with the European Commission and the United Nations to draft policies that benefit European communities, and will continue to facilitate the exchange of best practices in disaster risk reduction."</span></p>
Wróbel in Minsk to discuss energy efficiency and job creation with Eastern Partnership local authoritieshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Wróbel-in-Minsk-to-discuss-energy-efficiency-and-job-creation-with-Eastern-Partnership-local-authorities.aspx2017-05-21T22:00:00ZWróbel in Minsk to discuss energy efficiency and job creation with Eastern Partnership local authorities<p>On 22 May 2017, the Bureau of European Committee of the Regions' Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) held its first meeting in Belarus since its launch in 2011.</p><p>The EA group was represented at the meeting by Mr Dariusz Wróbel, CORLEAP Bureau Member and Mayor of Opole Lubelskie, Poland. <br></p><p>The meeting, which gathered representatives of local and regional administrations from the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries (Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) this time focused on energy efficiency, job creation and the development of tourism. The CORLEAP Bureau members also discussed a report on obstacles to energy efficiency in the Eastern Partnership countries, such as limited authority, insufficient government support, inadequate funding, and a lack of private-sector involvement in municipal energy-efficiency programmes. <br></p><p>This meeting also provided an opportunity for a strategic debate on CORLEAP activities and recommendations to the 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit which will take place in November this year, against the background of developments which can bring a new impetus to the Eastern Dimension of the reviewed European Neighborhood policy.</p><p>At the end of the meeting, Mr Wróbel presented good practices from the town of Opole Lubelskie where the municipality installed 2000 rooftop photovoltaic panels. "Sharing good practices with the neighbors is very important and protecting the climate and energy efficiency is our duty now as we live in times when we have to protect environment and use energy in a modern way", he added.</p><p>Finally, members of the European Committee of the Regions also had an opportunity to meet representatives of Belarussian civil society.</p><p>During the meeting, Mr Wróbel welcomed the opportunity to have a discussion with the grassroots civil society organisations in EaP countries and highlighted that "it is very important to engage with all sectors of society and that future cooperation is based on the same values as more democracy can give more opportunities."<br></p>
COTER adopts opinions on low emission mobility, cross border cooperation and territorial classificationhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/COTER-adopts-opinions-on-low-emission-mobility,-cross-border-cooperation-and-territorial-classification.aspx2017-05-16T22:00:00ZCOTER adopts opinions on low emission mobility, cross border cooperation and territorial classification<p>​​On 17 May COTER commission adopted the CoR draft opinions on the EU strategy for low emission mobility, small scale crossborder cooperation projects and territorial classification/ typologies.</p><p>Kieran McCarthy, EA Group acting coordinator, pointed out the importance for the EU of a strategy on low emission mobility and added that there is huge scope for local government to tap into EU funding sources to promote low emission mobility and increase efficiency of transport systems. There are lots of successful  projects across the EU and these should serve as sources of inspiration for other regions and cities, he said</p><p>During the meeting, the EA President Mr Szwabski reported on the workshop on regeneration of port cities and areas that took place the day before the meeting and that gathered representatives of ports and urban authorities across the EU, including Gdynia and Cork.<br>​</p>
CoR calls for insularity clause in future Cohesion policy post 2020http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CoR-calls-for-insularity-clause-in-future-Cohesion-policy-post-2020.aspx2017-05-11T22:00:00ZCoR calls for insularity clause in future Cohesion policy post 2020<p>On 12 May, the CoR plenary session adopted the opinion "Entrepreneurship on islands", prepared by Ms Marie Antoinette Maupertuis from Corsica Regional authority upon a referral by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU.</p><p>Island regions in the EU are facing structural and permanent difficulties which are specific to them and which result in additional costs for their companies, thus impacting on their prospects for development. Island markets are often small and remote and mainland businesses are rather reluctant to supply goods or services there, which constitutes a real obstacle to island consumers' and businesses' access to the competitive benefits of the single market. <br></p><p>For this reason, Ms Maupertuis recommends that island regions and in particular companies based there benefit from specific measures and more relevant eligibility criteria in future European Cohesion Policy. More attention needs to be put on island regions and insularity clauses have to be foreseen to offset the negative economic impacts deriving from their natural and geographic constraints.</p><p>In the same vein, Ms Maupertuis also asked that transport connections and energy supply, key sectors for the competitiveness of island businesses, be able to benefit from exemptions regarding state aid.<br></p>
Szwabski: "Enhanced cooperation with the European Parliament key to ensure cohesion in regions and cities"http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Szwabski-Ehanced-cooperation-with-the-European-Parliament-key-to-ensure-cohesion-in-regions-and-cities.aspx2017-05-10T22:00:00ZSzwabski: "Enhanced cooperation with the European Parliament key to ensure cohesion in regions and cities" <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">In the presence of the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, the President of the EA Group and Gdynia city Councillor, Stanisław Szwabski called for stronger cooperation with the European Parliament in order to improve the image of the EU among our citizens.<br><br>"The CoR could be a powerful amplifier for the European Parliament and act as a conduit for addressing issues of concerns to citizens. And it would be great", said Mr Szwabski, "if we could capitalise on, on one hand, the political weight of the European Parliament and its members and, on the other, the CoR members' proximity to people by joining our forces"<br><br>Mr Szwabski in his speech said also that the EU has to go back to its core values that are at the basis of its creation pointing out that "the identity of our EU, the principles of freedom and democracy, should not be taken for granted and we cannot remain silent with governments clamping down on basic rights and freedoms."<br><br>President Szwabski also called upon the EU to ensure an urban rural balanced development and adequate resources in the future Cohesion Policy. "The elections in UK and in France clearly showed a huge fragmentation in the society between the urban and rural areas, those who have benefitted by globalisation and those who have been left behind.  We now see clearly that if EU and its member states do not adequately support territories with structural (geographic) constraints, we are going to pay a huge price", he added.<br><br>Finally, Mr Szwabski said that the CoR members count on the European Parliament to ensure that the future cohesion policy will have an adequate budget. "If we are to weaken the policy which contributes the most to showing the benefits of the EU, we would not bridge the existing gap between EU and its citizens", he concluded.<br></span></p>
Truskolaski highlights local and regional government role in StartUp and ScaleUp of SMEshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Truskolaski-highlights-local-and-regional-government-role-in-StartUp-and-ScaleUp-of-SMEs.aspx2017-05-10T22:00:00ZTruskolaski highlights local and regional government role in StartUp and ScaleUp of SMEs <p class="MsoNormal">At a plenary debate with the European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen, the European Alliance coordinator on the ECON committee and Rapporteur on StartUp – ScaleUp initiative Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski highlighted the role for cities and local authorities in promoting StartUp and ScaleUp business. <span></span>He also highlighted the need for funding to be accessible, innovative and flexible for new business start-ups.<span> </span>Mr Truskolaski also insisted with Commissioner Katainen that there need to be common EU rules on insolvency and that the situation where every Member State and region has a different system is unsustainable.</p>
European Commission preparing a proposal on the new MFF, McCarthy asks for a more positive narrative and better communication on the benefits of EU's cohesion effortshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/MFF-McCarthy-asks-for-a-more-positive-narrative-and-better-communication-.aspx2017-05-11T22:00:00ZEuropean Commission preparing a proposal on the new MFF, McCarthy asks for a more positive narrative and better communication on the benefits of EU's cohesion efforts<p>​​​On Friday 12 May, on the second day of the Committee of the Regions' 123rd plenary session, CoR members held a debate with the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Mr Günther Oettinger.</p><p>Mr Oettinger briefed the members on the ongoing work on the Proposal on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), due by summer next year, and in particular addressed the status of EU's cohesion policy in it. Although he admitted that some readjustments will be necessary, he committed to oppose cuts in the cohesion programmes but, at the same time, stressed the need for a simplification of procedures and a clearer demonstration of EU cohesion policy's added value. <br></p><p>In a passionate intervention, Mr Kieran McCarthy strongly called for a more positive narrative in the media and in the EU institutions themselves on the benefits of cohesion policy. "<em>While everybody is talking about challenges, we must talk about opportunities</em>", he said while insisting that the current narrative is too much oriented towards problems and shortcomings and not enough towards the benefits and prospects.</p><p>Mr McCarthy is a member of the Cork City Council (Ireland) and EA group's coordinator for the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC).</p>