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Repaský opinion adopted by the CoR calls for transparency and sustainability of the EU's approach to food safetyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Repaský-opinion-adopted-by-the-CoR-calls-for-transparency-and-sustainability-of-the-EU's-approach-to-food-safety.aspx2018-10-09T22:00:00ZRepaský opinion adopted by the CoR calls for transparency and sustainability of the EU's approach to food safety<p style="text-align:justify;">​With an opinion drawn up by Miloslav Repaský (SK/EA), member of the regional parliament of the Prešov Self-Governing Region, the European Committee of the Regions supports the EC's initiative that aims at increasing the transparency and sustainability of EU risk assessment in the food chain in order to clarify the transparency rules.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The rapporteur expressed disappointment that “despite the uniform principles for evaluation and authorisation of regulated products, inconsistencies are apparent across Member States in relation to the regulation of certain substances, which may arise from different approaches to the concepts of hazard and risk and social acceptance of the level of risk involved".  The new food related EU risk communication strategy must be inclusive and must ensure that all levels of government, from the level of central government to that of local and regional authorities, as well as other relevant players, are duly involved to guarantee a coherent risk communication strategy addressing risks associated with the food chain.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Gillian Ford's opinion on the European Education Area adopted by unanimity at the 131st CoR Plenary sessionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Gillian-Ford's-opinion-on-the-European-Education-Area-adopted-by-unanimity-at-the-131st-CoR-Plenary-session.aspx2018-10-09T22:00:00ZGillian Ford's opinion on the European Education Area adopted by unanimity at the 131st CoR Plenary session<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 10 October, members of the European Committee of the Regions adopted unanimously the opinion "Building a stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies" written by EA member Ms Gillian Ford, Councillor in the London Borough of Havering. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The opinion outlines the position of local and regional authorities on several proposals put forward by the European Commission which aim to contribute to the construction of the European Education Area by 2025. The topics addressed in the proposals and the opinion include automatic mutual recognition of diplomas and learning periods abroad, high quality early childhood education and care systems, and the approach to the teaching and learning of languages.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cllr Ford had been appointed rapporteur-general on the package at the SEDEC commission meeting in June.</p>
State of the Union: EA Vice-president Szwabski calls for a visionary Europe with regions and cities at its hearthttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/State-of-the-Union-EA-Vice-president-Szwabski-calls-for-a-visionary-Europe-with-regions-and-cities-at-its-heart.aspx2018-10-08T22:00:00ZState of the Union: EA Vice-president Szwabski calls for a visionary Europe with regions and cities at its heart<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 09 October the CoR President Karl Heinz Lambertz  delivered the State of the Union from a regions and cities perspective in presence of A.Tajani, President of the European Parliament.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The EA 1st Vice-President Stanislaw Szwabski in his response called for a visionary Europe with regions and cities at its heart.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Today in the EU there is a clear tendency of centralisation and the current institutional set up does not enable LRAs to actively participate in the policy and decision making process.  This in my view needs to change", he said</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Gdynia city councillor also underlined the need for the EU to take action against those member States who act against their citizens and local authorities.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"It is often the national governments who, fuelling the rhetoric against the EU, put at risk the resources for subnational governments. The EU has to take a firm line against those Member States who act against our values. We must not penalise local authorities or withdraw vital source of funding to them because of the mistakes or actions of the central governments. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
European Week of Regions and Cities: EA Group discuss role of LRAs in fostering energy transition policieshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/European-Week-of-Regions-and-Cities-EA-Group-discuss-role-of-LRAs-in-fostering-energy-transition-policies.aspx2018-10-08T22:00:00ZEuropean Week of Regions and Cities: EA Group discuss role of LRAs in fostering energy transition policies<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 9 October, in the context of the European Week of Regions and cities, the EA group organised a workshop on "Local and regional authorities fostering energy transition policies". Speakers included Mr Andy Kantoudaki from the European Commission's DG Energy, Mr Carlos Chocarro from the government of Navarre, Member of the Flemish parliament Mr Andres Gryffroy and the COR Rapporteur on climate change governance COP 24 Mr Andrew Cooper.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">With the entry into force of the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU has set higher renewable energy and energy efficiency targets to accelerate the transition to a cleaner energy system and achieve climate goals.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Regions and cities' role is central to making this transition happen. They are at the forefront in implementing ambitious policies but they also need to be empowered with adequate means and enabled to participate in the definition of national energy and climate plans.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
EA President Vanlouwe: Regions must have a greater say in EU decisions http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/EA-President-Vanlouwe-Regions-must-have-a-greater-say-in-EU-decisions-.aspx2018-10-07T22:00:00ZEA President Vanlouwe: Regions must have a greater say in EU decisions <p style="text-align:justify;">​On 8 October at the opening session of the European Week of Regions and cities, the EA President and member of the Flemish parliament, Karl Vanlouwe called on the EU to fully comply with the subsidiarity principle and take decisions at the appropriate level of governance. Addressing Commission President Juncker he said that "the subsidiarity principle, the principle that should ensure that legislation is applied at right level, closest to the citizens, seems to be applied only as far as the Member State level. We need mechanisms enabling regions, especially those with legislative powers, to have a greater say in EU decisions.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In his speech he also referred to the current situation in Catalonia and underlined that in some case, central governments even suppress powers, autonomy and freedom of subnational governments and their elected representatives. "It is a shame that in Europe there are again political prisoners and democratically elected leaders in exile who cannot return home simply because they have acted in accordance with their people wish and aspirations".</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Future of CAP; digital health and risk assessment discussed at the NAT commissionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Future-of-CAP;-digital-health-and-risk-assessment-discussed-at-the-NAT-commission.aspx2018-09-30T22:00:00ZFuture of CAP; digital health and risk assessment discussed at the NAT commission<p style="text-align:justify;">​The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) held its 20th meeting on 1 October 2018 in Brussels.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The future of the CAP was discussed with members including EA coordinator Enda Stenson highlighting the need for a strong agriculture policy in Europe which also protects and promotes the rural areas.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Members also held a lively exchange on the digital transformation of healthcare system under the scope of the Digital Single Market. Among participants, the Vice-chair of the European Regional and Local Health Authorities (EUREGHA) calling for a greater responsibility for regional health authorities, the introduction of the interoperability of the cross-border data sharing and a facilitation of the access to the information through digitalization, as the most important points.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">European Alliance member  Miloslav Repaský presented his opinion on the significance of the risk assessment on the food chain, putting in value the work of the EFSA and remarking that in order to pursuit the highest security possible, there has to be transparency in all the steps from the producer to the final product.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
ENVE members debate priorities for future environment and climate actionshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/ENVE-members-debate-priorities-for-future-environment-and-climate-actions.aspx2018-09-26T22:00:00ZENVE members debate priorities for future environment and climate actions<p style="text-align:justify;">​The European Committee of the Regions' (CoR) Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) held its 20th meeting on 27 September 2018 in Brussels. Members exchanged views with the Director General of DG Environment, Mr Calleja Crespo on the priorities for environment and climate action. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The EA coordinator Andrew Cooper, stressed the importance of implementation of EU environmental legislation as  " ultimately it's the local and regional authorities who are the implementers on the ground. There is a need to improve the coordination between the national, regional and local level of governance and ensure that local targets find their way into national plans and goals", he added.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the meeting ENVE members also adopted unanimously the opinion on local energy communities in the energy transition and discussed about the single-use plastics directive, the LIFE programme after 2020, water reuse and the establishment of the European space programme.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A debate was held on the Global Covenant of Mayors and the role that the EU Covenant of Mayors.  Cllr Andrew Cooper pointed out that it is essential to ensure local energy and climate actions are integrated into national determined contributions and that United Nations are also involved in this initiative. The next ENVE meeting will take place on 15 November in Brussels.</p>
Drăghici and Szwabski in Kyiv to discuss local economic development and inter-municipal cooperation between the EU and Eastern Partnership countrieshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Drăghici-and-Szwabski-in-Kyiv-to-discuss-local-economic-development-and-inter-municipal-cooperation-between-the-EU-and-East.aspx2018-09-24T22:00:00ZDrăghici and Szwabski in Kyiv to discuss local economic development and inter-municipal cooperation between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 24 September, Mr Emil Drăghici. Mayor of Vulcana-Băi, Romania attended the 8th annual meeting of the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) where, together with representatives of local authorities from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine he discussed bilateral municipal cooperation, economic cooperation and development at local level and ways to engage young citizens and deal with disinformation on online platforms and in the media. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">On the next day, 25 September, Mr Stanisław Szwabski from the Gdynia City Council, Poland attended the 5th meeting of the European Committee of the Regions' Task Force on Ukraine which saw a debate on how to encourage local economic development and gain the trust of European and Ukrainian SMEs. The members were also presented the results of a peer-to-peer cooperation programme between EU and Ukrainian local authorities.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Set up in 2011, CORLEAP is the political forum of local and regional authorities from the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries. The Ukraine Task Force was established in 2015 with the aim to intensify bilateral relations and provide political and technical support to Ukrainian partners at the local level. In March 2018, the initiative was complemented by a peer-to-peer cooperation programme launched with the support of the U-LEAD programme and its implementer, the German Development Agency GIZ.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
CIVEX members discuss local and regional approach to security challenges with Commissioner Avramopouloshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CIVEX-members-discuss-local-and-regional-approach-to-security-challenges-with-Commissioner-Avramopoulos.aspx2018-09-20T22:00:00ZCIVEX members discuss local and regional approach to security challenges with Commissioner Avramopoulos<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 20 and 21 September, members of the CoR's CIVEX commission gathered in Athens, Greece for their annual external meeting and conference "Security challenges – Regional and local approaches."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The members had a fruitful exchange of views and experiences in addressing security challenges at the local level with representatives of Greek local authorities, European Commission, academia and Greek Ombudsman, as well as the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">European Alliance Group delegation included Cllr Tony Buchanan from the East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland, as well as three Polish members, Mr Marian Adam Buras, Mayor of Morawica, Mr Stanisław Szwabski from the Gdynia City Council and EA Group's coordinator for the CIVEX commission, Mr Dariusz Wróbel, Mayor of Opole Lubelskie.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing the Commissioner Avramopoulos, Cllr Buchanan said that local and regional authorities can help address underlying causes of terrorism, by helping people establish strong positive relationships within the community and build confidence through community-led activities. Talking about migration and integration, Cllr Buchanan added that local and regional authorities are at the forefront of integration efforts but are often hostages to central governments' decisions which do not pay enough attention to the challenges faced at the local level.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The next meeting of the CIVEX commission will take place in Brussels on 29 November 2018.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Cllr Anthony Buchanan discusses fiscal decentralisation with local authorities in Skopjehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Buchanan-fiscal-decentralisation-Skopje.aspx2018-09-10T22:00:00ZCllr Anthony Buchanan discusses fiscal decentralisation with local authorities in Skopje<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 11 September 2018, a delegation of members from the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) visited Skopje for the 15th meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee CoR – Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The main topics of the meeting were the role of local and regional authorities in the country's path towards EU accession and fiscal decentralisation and local tax policy. In a fruitful exchange of experiences, locally-elected representatives from FYROM presented their concerns and views on how fiscal decentralisation should take place in the country which is one of the most centralised states in Europe. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing the meeting, Cllr Tony Buchanan from the East Renfrewshire Council outlined how local tax is collected in Scotland as a country and at the local level. He stressed the importance of giving more capacity to local and regional authorities which represent the level of governance on which 70% of EU policies are implemented. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The next meeting of the JCC CoR-FYROM will take place in the spring of 2019 in Brussels.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Nanette Maupertuis takes part in EP discussion on the future of Interreg http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Nanette-Maupertuis-takes-part-in-EP-discussion-on-the-future-of-Interreg-.aspx2018-09-03T22:00:00ZNanette Maupertuis takes part in EP discussion on the future of Interreg <p style="text-align:justify;">​On 4 September, the REGI committee in the European Parliament discussed the draft report of MEP Arimont on the future of Territorial Cooperation/Interreg after 2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Nanette Maupertuis, member of the Executive Council of Corsica and CoR rapporteur, took part in the discussion. She expressed concerns about the 1,8 billion budget reduction to ETC and the radical changes proposed by the European Commission to its tradition components. Despite the creation of new components for outermost regions and the interregional innovative instrument, the Commission is proposing massive budget cuts for cross border and interregional cooperation and to move cross border maritime projects into transnational programmes.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"There is no justification for cutting programmes that have proved to work and for rendering cooperation between maritime regions more difficult. These cuts go against the principle of territorial cohesion as they would penalise cities who are currently working together, cross border regions that have carried joint projects, islands that by definition are cross border areas. Like, Mr Arimont in his report, we will also ask the budget is restored and that maritime cross border programmes could continue as they are now".</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Stenson urges European Commission to encourage young farmers in the reform of the Common Agriculture Policyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Stenson-urges-European-Commission-to-encourage-young-farmers-in-the-reform-of-the-Common-Agriculture-Policy.aspx2018-08-29T22:00:00ZStenson urges European Commission to encourage young farmers in the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy<p style="text-align:justify;">​At a hearing held in the European Committee of the Regions on the reform of the Common Agriculture policy (CAP), Leitrim County Councillor Enda Stenson called for clear and concrete measures to encourage more young farmers to stay on the land. The CAP is one of the success stories of the European Union and it needs to continue and encourage farmers to produce high quality, traceable food which is needed in our regions and cities. More so, it also needs to encourage more young people to work the land and live in our rural communities and therefore there need to be targeted measures to ensure this is the case.</p>
CIVEX members discuss enlargement, MFF proposal and the future of Europehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CIVEX-enlargement-MFF-future-Europe.aspx2018-07-09T22:00:00ZCIVEX members discuss enlargement, MFF proposal and the future of Europe<p style="text-align:justify;">​European Committee of the Regions' (CoR) Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) held its 19th meeting on 10 July 2018 in Brussels.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The members held an exchange of views on the draft opinion on the European Commission's Enlargement Package 2018 and a debate on the MFF proposal from the perspective of CIVEX commission's remits, especially the proposed Asylum and Migration Fund as well as financial instruments for developing, neighbourhood and enlargement countries.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the afternoon, the members discussed and adopted draft opinion "Reflecting on Europe: the voice of local and regional authorities to rebuild trust in the European Union." The opinion, drafted upon referral by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, has been prepared jointly by CoR's President Karl-Heinz Lambertz and First Vice President Markku Markkula and is a product of a number of surveys and debates with citizens across the continent, which have been taking place since 2016. The opinion is set to be adopted at the CoR plenary in October 2018.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">EA group was represented at the meeting by coordinator Dariusz Wróbel, Cllr Anthony Buchanan, Cllr Declan McDonnell, Mr Stanisław Szwabski and Mr Karim Van Overmeire.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Committee of the Regions Plenary adopts McCarthy opinion on the Urban Agenda http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CoR-Plenary-MCCARTHY-OPINION-URBAN-AGENDA-.aspx2018-07-03T22:00:00ZCommittee of the Regions Plenary adopts McCarthy opinion on the Urban Agenda <p style="text-align:justify;">​On 03 July 2018, the CoR plenary session adopted the opinion drafted by Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy on the implementation assessment of the Urban Agenda.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Urban Agenda for the EU seeks to mobilise the experience and expertise of local authorities and enable them to contribute to the development and implementation of EU policies and instruments which most impact cities. It is based on a multi-level governance working method across twelve key urban themes. In November 2017, the European Commission presented its initial assessment of progress and results arising from the first year of the implementation. The local and regional representatives in the CoR are pushing to go a step further.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The Urban Agenda offers too much potential to improve the way in which our cities will work in future to be restricted to a mere high-quality networking exercise. We need a long-term political commitment and resources to cater to the needs of cities of all sizes . The European Commission's move to dedicate 6% of the European Regional Development Fund to investments in sustainable urban development proposed in the framework for cohesion policy beyond 2020 presented on 29 May is a step in the right direction. The same is true for the European Urban Initiative, a new instrument for city-to-city cooperation, innovation and capacity-building across all the thematic priorities of the Urban Agenda for the EU", said Cork city Councillor Kieran McCarthy.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><a href="https://cor.europa.eu/en/news/Pages/urban-agenda-more-than-networking.aspx" target="_blank">Read more</a>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Committee of the Regions adopts Cllr Cooper opinion on climate governance setting its position ahead of COP24 http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Cllr-Cooper-opinion-climate-governance-setting-position-COP24-.aspx2018-07-04T22:00:00ZCommittee of the Regions adopts Cllr Cooper opinion on climate governance setting its position ahead of COP24 <p style="text-align:justify;">​On 5 July the Committee of the Regions adopted the opinion of Cllr Andrew Cooper on climate governance post 2020 that aims to contribute to the UNFCCC COP 24 taking place in Katowice, Poland in December.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Members backed rapporteur Andrew Cooper’s proposal to bridge the current emissions gap through his concept on Locally Determined Contributions (LDCs). Without the formal involvement of local and regional governments, a gap will remain between the announced climate pledges and the achievements needed to keep temperature rise well below 2°C.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Kirklees councillor, Andrew Cooper, declared: "Since the adoption of the Paris agreement, we have seen a rising status for local and regional governments in international climate talks. It is now time to acknowledge multi-level governance and formalise the role of local and regional in global climate governance. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) fall short in reaching the Paris agreement goals of limiting temperature increase to well below 2 degrees, let alone 1,5.  We propose a system of Locally and Regionally Determined Contributions to complement national pledges</p><p style="text-align:justify;">With regard to dialogues to be established between national and subnational governments, the EA member pointed out that it is crucial that actions undertaken at subnational level is measured and taken into account as " action that is not measured, is not encouraged, nor valued" </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"We certainly welcome dialogues with subnational level of governments as they are of great importance as they allow LRAs to share their ambitions and positions. But dialogues are not monologues. Local governments need to be heard but also need to be responded to. We expect LRAs to be truly involved in the definition of national energy and climate plans and for their contributions to be taken into account in governance of the Energy Union.  Similarly on a global level we believe that  outcomes of the Talanoa Dialogue should make their way through the COP negotiating text and should not be just be a one off, nice story- telling exercise, it should continue beyond COP24".<br></p>
EA/CoR Secondary Schools Competition winners visit the CoR July plenary sessionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/EA-CoR-Secondary-Schools-Competition-CoR-plenary-2018.aspx2018-07-04T22:00:00ZEA/CoR Secondary Schools Competition winners visit the CoR July plenary session<div style="text-align:justify;"> </div><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">On 4 and 5 July, winners of the 13<sup>th</sup> edition of the EA/CoR Secondary Schools Competition visited Brussels and the plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). Twenty seven students aged 14 to 19 and their teachers from eight Member States presented their regions and schools to members of the EA group and later had an opportunity to meet CoR President Mr Karl-Heinz Lambertz.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">The visit to Brussels represents a highlight of the competition which saw students demonstrate their knowledge of the EU through a written multiple-choice test and an essay on 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">In addition to the visit to the CoR, the students also visited the European Parliament, House of the European History and Brussels city centre.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB">The EA Group Secondary Schools Competition has been running since 2006. It celebrates the diversity of Europe's regions and gives young students a possibility to see first-hand how EU institutions work and meet their peers from across the continent. This year's participants came from Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Scotland and Slovakia.</span></p>
"Newcomers must not stay newcomers forever", says Karl Vanlouwe in a debate with the Austrian Presidencyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Newcomers-must-not-stay-newcomers-forever-Karl-Vanlouwe-Austrian-Presidency.aspx2018-07-03T22:00:00Z"Newcomers must not stay newcomers forever", says Karl Vanlouwe in a debate with the Austrian Presidency<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 4 July, members of the European Committee of the Regions held a debate with Dr Juliane Bogner-Strauss, Federal Minister for Women, Families and Youth. The debate focused on the priorities of Austria's forthcoming presidency of the Council of the EU which include migration, competitiveness and EU enlargement in the Western Balkans. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing the Minister, EA Group President Mr Karl Vanlouwe highlighted that the protection of EU's borders does not start in the Mediterranean but in the countries from which migrants leave to come to Europe. Therefore, he welcomed the proposed increase in funding for development in the next programming period which should aim to ensure stability and security in the countries of origin and consequently in Europe. However, Mr Vanlouwe added that the integration of legal migrants is equally important as the protection of borders and stressed that European societies should work on making the newcomers their functional members as soon as possible, through language learning and fast integration in the labour market.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Austria took over presidency of the Council of the EU from Bulgaria on 1 July 2018. The country will preside until 31 December 2018 when it will be succeeded by Romania.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
SEDEC meeting in Logroño, Cllr Gillian Ford appointed CoR rapporteur on the European Education Areahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/SEDEC-Rioja-Gillian-Ford-rapporteur-European-Education-Area.aspx2018-06-25T22:00:00ZSEDEC meeting in Logroño, Cllr Gillian Ford appointed CoR rapporteur on the European Education Area<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 25 and 26 June 2018, European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) held a meeting and a conference in Logroño, capital of the La Rioja province, Spain.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the first day of the meeting, SEDEC members discussed the role of sport in the EU agenda post-2020, establishment of the European Labour Authority and European Commission's Communication on the Digital Education Action Plan. It was also decided that member of the EA group, Cllr Gillian Ford from the London Borough of Havering will be appointed rapporteur on several initiatives launched by the European Commission aimed at establishing a common European Education Area by 2025. These include, among others, proposals on promoting automatic mutual recognition of diplomas, development of high quality childhood education and care systems, as well as a more comprehensive approach to the teaching and learning of languages.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On the second day, members participated in a conference on demographic change in Europe, together with Members of the European Parliament, presidents of several Spanish regions and representatives of the European Commission, civil society and academia. The participants agreed that the next budget of the European Union should include specific measures to help the regions most severely affected by demographic challenges.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">EA Group coordinator for the SEDEC commission is Cllr Kieran McCarthy, from the Cork City Council, Ireland. During the conference, he said that local and regional authorities already use a myriad of tools to address demographic challenges on a daily basis, such as CAP, ETC, LEADER, ERDF or EGTC, but also added that demographic change shows a very real need for an even stronger EU Regional Policy in the next MFF. "We need more steps forwards than backwards", Mr McCarthy concluded.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
ECON commission meets in Bucharest, Romania to discuss competitiveness of SMEs through digitalisationhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/ECON-Bucharest-Romania-competitiveness-SMEs-digitalisation.aspx2018-06-21T22:00:00ZECON commission meets in Bucharest, Romania to discuss competitiveness of SMEs through digitalisation<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 21 and 22 June 2018, members of the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Economic Policy (ECON) met in Bucharest, Romania. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The members discussed and adopted an opinion on the Council directive on value added tax rates and held exchanges of views on financing sustainable growth and on taxation of the digital economy. On the second day of the meeting, ECON commission organised a conference on how to boost the competitiveness of SMES through digitalisation at the local and regional level, which saw participation by Romanian ministers for European Affairs and for Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, as well as representatives of local authorities, trade associations, think-tanks and EU institutions.  The EA Group actively participated in the meeting led by the ECON cooprinator Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski, Mayor of Białystok, Poland.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Next meeting of the ECON commission will take place on 23 October in Brussels. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
COTER: Nanette Maupertuis to draft CoR position on future EU Territorial Cooperationhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Nanette-Maupertuis-CoR-future-EU-Territorial-Cooperation-.aspx2018-06-06T22:00:00ZCOTER: Nanette Maupertuis to draft CoR position on future EU Territorial Cooperation<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 6-7 June the COTER commission met in Sofia, under the Bulgarian Presidency, to debate the recently published proposals on the future multi annual financial framework (MFF) 2021/2027 and the related cohesion policy regulations.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Members have reiterated their opposition to cuts to cohesion policy and rural development and called for a more balanced budget.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Nanette Maupertuis, member of the executive council of Corsica Regional Authority, was appointed rapporteur for the regulation on European Territorial Cooperation programme (Interreg)</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There is no cohesion without cooperation. We need more involvement of regions, not less, and programmes with real added value such as INTERREG must continue with the same level of resources” she said.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
EA Group meeting and seminar: Focus on the promotion of cultural heritage must not end after the European Year of Cultural Heritagehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/EA-seminar-promotion-European-Year-Cultural-Heritage.aspx2018-06-03T22:00:00ZEA Group meeting and seminar: Focus on the promotion of cultural heritage must not end after the European Year of Cultural Heritage<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 4 June 2018, European Alliance Group in the European Committee of the Regions held an extraordinary meeting and a seminar "Promoting cultural and linguistic heritage of Europe."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Opening the event, EA Group President <strong>Karl Vanlouwe </strong>said that he was "particularly glad that this seminar is organised during the European Year of Cultural Heritage, a year particularly rich in events, debates and reflections on how we can strengthen the preservation and promotion of our local, regional and national identities which all together make part of a bigger, European identity."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ms <strong>Barbara Gressler</strong>, Head of Unit "Culture and Creativity" in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (EAC), briefly presented some of the main activities taking place during the European Year of Cultural Heritage but also gave a short overview of the European Commission's new initiatives, such as the New European Agenda for Culture and the new proposal on the Creative Europe programme.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Count <strong>Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem</strong>, President of the European Historic Houses Association, board member of Europa Nostra and a member of the Stakeholder Committee advising the European Commission on the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, presented Heritage Alliance 3.3, an informal platform of 48 European and international networks active in the field of cultural heritage and announced the forthcoming European Cultural Heritage Summit which will take place from 18-24 June 2018 in Berlin, Germany.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr <strong>Gianfranco Zidda</strong>, Scientific manager of the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage of the Autonomous Region Valle D'Aosta presented the megalytic area of Aosta and the efforts in research and promotion of the site. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr <strong>Roel Daenen </strong>from the Flemish interface centre for cultural heritage (FARO) presented the activities of his organization with a special focus on the yearly Heritage Day (Erfgoeddag), one of the biggest heritage-related events in Flanders when heritage institutions and activities can be visited free of charge.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr <strong>Mikel Irujo Amezaga</strong>, Delegate of the Government of Navarre in Brussels talked about lesser-used, minority and regional languages in Europe, which are currently spoken by over 50 million people across the continent. He particularly focused on cultural heritage and promotion of the Basque language in the territories of Navarre and the Basque Country. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cllr <strong>Kieran McCarthy</strong>, member of Cork City Council and EA Group's coordinator for the Committee of the Regions' Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC), elaborated on the role of the regions in the promotion of cultural heritage, especially community-led cultural management and the role of local and regional authorities as repositories of public memory.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Concluding the debate, Mr Vanlouwe stressed that it is of fundamental importance that the European Year of Cultural Heritage is not a one-off exercise but that indeed it will have a proper follow-up and mark the start of a long-term change in the approach towards our cultural heritage.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Finally, EA Group members pledged to continue insisting on a multi-layered character of Europe's cultural heritage and fighting for the protection and promotion of Europe's lesser-used, regional and historical languages and other aspects of Europe's cultural heritage which are endangered by demographic changes and economic globalization.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br>Presentations:</p><ul><li><strong><a href="/ea/News/Documents/Europeean%20civil%20sector%27s%20efforts%20to%20protect%20and%20promote%20cultural%20heritage.pptx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icpptx.png" alt="" />Europeean civil sector's efforts to protect and promote cultural heritage.pptx</a></strong><br>Count Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem, President of the European Historic Houses Association, Board member of Europa Nostra</li></ul><ul><li><strong><a href="/ea/News/Documents/Preservation%20and%20promotion%20of%20European%20regional%20and%20minority%20languages.%20The%20Basque%20case.pptx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icpptx.png" alt="" />Preservation and promotion of European regional and minority languages. The Basque case.pptx</a></strong><br>Mr Mikel Irujo Amezaga, Delegate of the Government of Navarre in Brussels</li></ul><ul><li><strong><a href="/ea/News/Documents/The%20megalytic%20area%20of%20Aosta.%20A%20territorial%20excellence%20among%20scientific%20rigor,%20technology%20and%20emotional%20impact.pptx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icpptx.png" alt="" />The megalytic area of Aosta. A territorial excellence among scientific rigor, technology and emotional impact.pptx</a></strong><br>Dr Gianfranco Zidda, Scientific manager of the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage of the Autonomous Region Valle D'Aosta</li></ul><ul><li><strong><a href="/ea/News/Documents/Safeguarding%20of%20Cultural%20Heritage%20in%20Flanders.pptx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icpptx.png" alt="" />Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Flanders.pptx</a></strong><br>Mr Roel Daenen, FARO, Flemish interface for cultural heritage (Vlaams steunpunt voor cultureel erfgoed vzw)</li></ul><ul><li><strong><a href="/ea/News/Documents/Promoting%20culture%20and%20heritage%20from%20a%20European%20Committee%20of%20the%20Regions%27%20perspective.pptx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icpptx.png" alt="" />Promoting culture and heritage from a European Committee of the Regions' perspective.pptx</a></strong><br>Cllr Kieran McCarthy, EA group coordinator for the SEDEC commission and member of Cork City Council</li></ul>
EA President Karl Vanlouwe participates in Subsidiarity Task-Force hearinghttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Karl-Vanlouwe-participates-Subsidiarity-Task-force.aspx2018-05-27T22:00:00ZEA President Karl Vanlouwe participates in Subsidiarity Task-Force hearing<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 28 May the CoR hosted a hearing with the Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and the members of the Task Force on Subsidiarity. The hearing aimed at collecting input from representatives of national and regional parliaments' representatives and stakeholders that will possibly feed into the final report of the Task Force to the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The report will include recommendations on how to better apply the principle of subsidiarity and proportionality and better involve local and regional authorities across the whole policy cycle as well as how to identify policy areas that may be re-delegated and powers returned to Member States and regions. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The EA Group President Karl Vanlouwe advocates for an enhanced role of regional parliaments in shaping EU legislation in accordance with their legislative powers and (exclusive) competences in several domains.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
NAT commission discusses local initiatives to promote a healthy lifestyle and dietshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/NAT-local-initiatives-promote-healthy-lifestyle-diets.aspx2018-05-23T22:00:00ZNAT commission discusses local initiatives to promote a healthy lifestyle and diets<p style="text-align:justify;">​In an external meeting of the NAT commission, held in Pylos, Greece on 24 and 25 May, members focused on promoting healthy lifestyles and diets. Acting European Alliance coordinator, Mr Dariusz Wróbel said that in a fast-paced world it is very important that we introduce the concept of healthy eating and active lifestyle at a very early age. This will also encourage the promotion of local and seasonal products which can contribute to the healthy diets.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The meeting also saw the appointment of European Alliance member Mr Miloslav Repaský as rapporteur on the Proposal for a Regulation on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain. Mr Repaský's opinion will be discussed at the next NAT commission meeting in October in Brussels.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Conference of Presidents visits Dublin and Newry to assess impact of BREXIThttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Conference-of-Presidents-visits-Dublin-and-Newry-to-assess-impact-of-BREXIT.aspx2018-05-21T22:00:00ZConference of Presidents visits Dublin and Newry to assess impact of BREXIT<p style="text-align:justify;">​The European Committee of the Regions met the Irish Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee, TD as well as the Oireachtas (Parliament) committee on European Affairs in Dublin on the 22nd May.  The meeting led to a detailed discussion on the impact of the UK withdrawal from the European Union for Ireland but also in particular for the border region with Northern Ireland. Mr Stanislaw Szwabski represented the European Alliance at this meeting and he reinforced the point on ensuring no 'hard' border.  Mr Szwabski also highlighted the need for connectivity and in particular for ports and airports giving the example of Dublin / Zeebrugge and Gdynia.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On the 23rd May the Conference of Presidents delegation met with the Northern Ireland Local Government association and representatives of business as well as community groups in Newry.  At this meeting the hard hitting facts of border business transactions but more so the risk of dividing communities was to the fore.  Karl Vanlouwe mentioned the need to ensure the continued funding for the excellent work of the PEACE and Interreg programme.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The delegation also visited Warrepoint port and the border between Ireland / Northern Ireland.</p> <ul><li><span lang="EN-GB">Link to the <a href="https://cor.europa.eu/fr/news/Pages/Irish-border-should-be-transparent.aspx">CoR Press release</a>.</span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB">Link to the hearing with the <a href="https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/oireachtas-tv/video-archive/committees/1688/">Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs.</a></span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB"><a href="https://memportal.cor.europa.eu/Handlers/ViewDoc.ashx?doc=COR-2018-01976-00-00-PRES-TRA-EN.docx">CoR Resolution</a> on the UK Withdrawal from the European Union.</span></li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Vanlouwe: "We don't own our cultural heritage, we merely take care of it for the next generations"http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Vanlouwe-We-don't-own-our-cultural-heritage,-we-merely-take-care-of-it-for-the-next-generations.aspx2018-05-16T22:00:00ZVanlouwe: "We don't own our cultural heritage, we merely take care of it for the next generations"<p style="text-align:justify;">​During the second day of the European Committee of the Regions' 129th plenary session, members held a debate with Mr Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Mr Luca Jahier, newly-elected president of the European Economic and Social Committee and Ms Petra Kammerevert, chair of the CULT Committee of the European Parliament.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the debate, EA Group President Karl Vanlouwe stressed the need to scale-up the promotion of Europe's cultural and linguistic heritage in all its diversity because, in his words, "we don't actually own our heritage, we merely take care of it for the next generations." As an example, he called for a stronger promotion of domestic TV programmes which in many countries suffer because of the influence of foreign-produced, in the first place US content.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 4 June, European Alliance Group will organise a seminar on the promotion of cultural and linguistic heritage of Europe, with prominent speakers from EU institutions and international organisations, as well as local practitioners from all parts of Europe.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Mikel Irujo's opinion on smart specialisation strategies adopted by unanimity at the CoR plenaryhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Mikel-Irujo's-opinion-on-smart-specialisation-strategies-adopted-by-unanimity-at-the-CoR-plenary.aspx2018-05-15T22:00:00ZMikel Irujo's opinion on smart specialisation strategies adopted by unanimity at the CoR plenary<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 16 May, members of the European Committee of the Regions adopted unanimously the opinion "Strengthening Innovation in Europe's Regions: Strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth", prepared by Mr Mikel Irujo, Head of the Navarre Government Delegation in Brussels.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The opinion argues that future smart specialisation strategies should be based on interregional strategic cooperation, with the double objective of generating synergies between regional innovation and development policies, and financial instruments, and, secondly, of avoiding duplication. Mr Irujo also called on the European Commission to initiate a phase 2.0 of smart specialisation, based on developing a "regional discovery process" in which regions pool their strategies involving the interregional triple helices.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These proposals were also echoed by Mr Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP (in the photo with Mr Irujo), member of the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development (REGI).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The opinion builds on Mr Irujo's previous opinion on smart specialisation strategies and their impact on regions and inter-regional cooperation, which was adopted last spring.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
MFF: Cohesion policy first, support to less developed regions is vital says Tadeusz Truskolaskihttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/MFF-Cohesion-policy-first-less-developed-regions-Tadeusz-Truskolaski.aspx2018-05-15T22:00:00ZMFF: Cohesion policy first, support to less developed regions is vital says Tadeusz Truskolaski<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 16 May a debate was held in the CoR Plenary session with Commissioner Oettinger on the freshly adopted proposal of the Future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tadeusz Truskolaski, EA member and mayor of Bialystok, Poland, advocated for an ambitious budget for Cohesion Policy to support less developed regions.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Cohesion Policy comes first and the MFF must consider the key role of Cohesion Policy in the construction of the European Union. We do not want cuts, we do not want divisions, we just want more cooperation. A simpler and flexible MFF should be instrumental to achieve balanced development across all EU regions in the EU and help the less developed one in their convergence process" he said.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Truskolaski is also president of the intergroup on less developed regions in the CoR.</p>
CoR members discuss EU enlargement with counterparts from the Western Balkans and Turkeyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CoR-discuss-enlargement-Western-Balkans-Turkey.aspx2018-05-03T22:00:00ZCoR members discuss EU enlargement with counterparts from the Western Balkans and Turkey<p style="text-align:justify;">​As every year, in the beginning of May EU enlargement was high on the European Committee of the Regions’ agenda.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">First, on 3 May, CoR members and their counterparts from Turkey and the Western Balkans held separate meetings of Joint Consultative Committees (JCC) and Working Groups (WG) which meet  twice a year. The topics included protection of cultural heritage, digital transformation, waste management, city-to-city partnerships and the fight against corruption.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 4 May, members of all JCCs and WGs met together for a plenary session, the so-called Enlargement Day, when they discussed the current state and the future of the EU enlargement process with representatives of the European Commission’s DG NEAR, Bulgarian Presidency, think-tanks and networks of local and regional authorities from South-East Europe.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">European Committee of the Regions currently has JCCs with representatives of local and regional authorities from Serbia, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, while cooperation with Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo takes place at the level of working groups.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">EA Group members who took part in the events are Mr Jan Van Esbroeck (member of JCC Serbia), Mr Hughie McGrath (JCC Montenegro), Mr Declan McDonnell (JCC FYROM), Mr Józef Kotyś (WG  Turkey) and Mr Virginijus Komskis (WG Western Balkans which includes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo).</p>
COTER adopts McCarthy's opinion on Urban Agenda for the EUhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/COTER-adopts-McCarthy's-opinion-on-Urban-Agenda-for-the-EU.aspx2018-04-26T22:00:00ZCOTER adopts McCarthy's opinion on Urban Agenda for the EU<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 27 April the COTER commission unanimously approved the opinion of Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy on the assessment of the implementation of the Urban Agenda for the EU, launched in May 2016 with the signature of the Pact of Amsterdam.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In his speech, Mr McCarthy praised the work of the cities involved in the partnerships and welcomed their ground-breaking working methods as they directly engaged urban authorities in the EU policy making process.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">He also underlined the importance for all institutions to reaffirm their commitment towards the Urban Agenda and to formalise the process</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The Urban Agenda offers too much potential to improve the future functioning of our cities to be restricted to a mere high quality networking exercise. It must instead be recognised as a binding political declaration, which is financially invested in and whose outcomes have concrete legitimacy and have impacts on legislation”, Mr McCarthy said.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cllr McCarthy also moderated a discussion with European Investment Bank (EIB) representative on "Urbis", an advisory hub, created jointly with the European Commission to support cities in accessing investment funding.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the meeting COTER also adopted opinions on low emission mobility and on cohesion in border regions.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
European Committee of the Regions delegation visits Port of Zeebrugge to discuss BREXIThttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Committee-Regions-Port-Zeebrugge-BREXIT.aspx2018-04-25T22:00:00ZEuropean Committee of the Regions delegation visits Port of Zeebrugge to discuss BREXIT<p style="text-align:justify;">​At the initiative of Karl Vanlouwe (N-VA), Member of the Flemish Parliament and President of the European Alliance Group in the Committee of the Regions, A delegation from the Territorial Cohesion Commission in the CoR visited the Port of Zeebrugge to see the impact BREXIT will have on the Port and the wider Flemish economy.  The Zeebrugge port CEO Joachim Coens and other key figures from the port spoke to the delegation.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Of the total trade in the Port of Zeebrugge almost half is with the United Kingdom, 67 % of this trade is exported across the channel. A hard Brexit, without a customs agreement would thus have a huge impact on the work in the port.  Preparing BREXIT is a key priority for the business sector that is doing everything possible to mitigate the negative consequences.  Unfortunately, during the Brexit negotiations the future relationship will only be dealt with at a later stage.    The Port of Zeebrugge is trying to advance preparation as much as possible in order to anticipate consequences and devise new business processes.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The visit of the COTER Commission (Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget) of the Committee of the Regions, came at a key time according to Karl Vanlouwe (N-VA).“ The Port of Zeebrugge is proactively preparing for Brexit and I wanted this good example could be shared to representatives of the Committee of the Regions from different European countries (Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, etc.). A no-deal Brexit may expose our port and the wider economy hugely and it is therefore imperative that we examine all options for our future relationship with the UK.    During the visit the Flemish concerns within the European Committee of the Regions were highlighted  and indeed a resolution on the UK withdrawal from the EU will be discussed at the next CoR Plenary in mid-May ”</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The visit took place the afternoon of the 26th April 2018.</p>
Gilles Simeoni and Nanette Maupertuis call for special attention to insularity in future cohesion policy at the EP Islands Intergroup meeting http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Simeoni-Maupertuis-insularity-cohesion-islands-intergroup.aspx2018-04-23T22:00:00ZGilles Simeoni and Nanette Maupertuis call for special attention to insularity in future cohesion policy at the EP Islands Intergroup meeting <p style="text-align:justify;">​On 24 April, Gilles Simeoni, President of the Executive Council of Corsica and Nanette Maupertuis, member of the Executive Council, took part in a meeting organised by the European Parliament Intergroup on Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas with support of the CPMR islands commission, on the insular dimension of cohesion policy post-2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ahead of the publication of the future Multiannual Financial Framework and the legislative proposal on the future cohesion policy, the conference, which was also attended by the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu and several members of the European Parliament, served as an opportunity for the island regions and territories to express their views on the way in which the future cohesion policy could meet their specific needs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing the Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Cretu, Mr Simeoni said that "consistent and particular attention to insularity, as enshrined in Article 174 of the Lisbon Treaty, is currently missing from the Cohesion Policy. The post-2020 Cohesion Policy must deliver legislative and financial conditions that will unlock the potential of island regions, for the benefit of the EU as a whole".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mrs Maupertuis, who was also rapporteur on the CoR opinion "Entrepreneurship and territorial cohesion on islands", reiterated that citizens and businesses across the EU should have access to the same opportunities regardless of where they live and that islands' residents must be fully integrated in the European single market.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The meeting comes after the adoption of the Council conclusions in which the Commission is invited to work on specific measures for islands and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural constraints.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">At its meeting in Aiacciu held in April 2017, the EA Group adopted a Declaration and a set of recommendations to advance territorial cohesion on islands and raise awareness of their specific needs. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Andrew Cooper calls for greater role for local government at the European Dialogue on non-state actionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Cooper-greater-role-local-government-European-Dialogue-non-state-action.aspx2018-04-22T22:00:00ZAndrew Cooper calls for greater role for local government at the European Dialogue on non-state action<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 23 April, Kirklees Cllr Andrew Cooper took part in the European Dialogue on non-state climate action organised by the European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Conference is part of the Talanoa Dialogue, an initiative promoted by the Fiji Presidency at the last COP which aims to involve non-party stakeholders in climate negotiations and see how they can help countries implement more ambitious nationally-determined contributions.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The importance of non-state actors is growing at each UN conference on climate change", said Cllr Cooper, adding that "the success of the functioning of the Paris agreement will depend on the inclusion of local authorities which can be mobilised quicker and are closest to citizens."</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
McCarthy and Irujo call for better cross-border cooperation and communication in the fields of research and innovationhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/McCarthy-Irujo-cross-border-cooperation-communication-research-innovation.aspx2018-04-22T22:00:00ZMcCarthy and Irujo call for better cross-border cooperation and communication in the fields of research and innovation<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 23 April, CoR's SEDEC commission held its 18th meeting in the current mandate, with members discussing the opinions on transparency and predictability of working conditions in the EU and the role of sport in EU agenda post-2020. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">CoR members were also presented the 2018 edition of European Commission's bi-annual report "Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU" which analyses Europe's performance in science, research and innovation and the driving factors behind that performance in a global context. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The 2018 edition of the report shows that Europe has a unique opportunity to lead the next wave of breakthrough innovation in areas where digital technology meets the physical world, such as digital manufacturing, genomics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the debate which followed the presentation of the report, delegate of the Government of Navarre to the EU, Mr Mikel Irujo Amezaga drew special attention to the importance of cross-border cooperation which in many cases can help avoid duplication. Mr Irujo said that due to fragmentation among EU member states, there is often a lack of knowledge about facilities which already exist in different regions. This was echoed by Mr Kieran McCarthy from the Cork City Council who additionally stressed that the EU, its local authorities and above all the universities need to work more with market leaders like Amazon or Apple and need to better communicate their results. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The members also discussed the results and recommendations of SPARKS, an awareness-raising project aimed at showing Europeans that they can get involved in science as well as the role of public policies in developing entrepreneurial and innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
COTER: Outermost regions play a key role in sustainable growth and social integrationhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/COTER-Outermost-regions-sustainable-growth-social-integration.aspx2018-04-12T22:00:00ZCOTER: Outermost regions play a key role in sustainable growth and social integration<p style="text-align:justify;">​The COTER commission of the Euroepan Committee of the Regions met on 13 April in Tenerife (Canary Islands) to evaluate the development strategy of the outermost regions (ORs) of the European Union in the post-2020 perspective.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The ORs face many challenges, such as remoteness, climate change, natural hazards, etc. and the aim of this seminar was to lay the foundations for a paradigm shift: to get rid of economic dependence, develop sustainable activities and to enhance the circular economy.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Several island projects in the field of renewable energies, blue economy and the valorization of biodiversity have shown that it is possible to transform constraints into assets within these territories and have led the ORs to demonstrate to Europe that they can contribute to sustainable growth and social integration. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Nanette Maupertuis, CoR rapporteur on entrepreneurship and territorial cohesion on islands, moderated the session on blue growth and innovation (marine resources, fisheries, renewable energies) during which the participants stressed the need to develop cooperation by major sea basins and advocated for the involvement of ORs in H2020 projects.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The EA delegation was represented by Ms Nanette Maupertuis (EA COTER coordinator), Mr Stanisław Szwabski and Mr Kieran McCarthy.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
ENVE adopts Cllr Andrew Cooper's opinion on climate governance after 2020http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/ENVE-Andrew-Cooper-opinion-climate-governance-2020.aspx2018-04-11T22:00:00ZENVE adopts Cllr Andrew Cooper's opinion on climate governance after 2020<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 12 April, the ENVE commission adopted the opinion of Cllr Andrew Cooper on climate governance post 2020, which will represent the CoR's contribution to the UNFCCC COP 24 in Katowice, Poland, next December.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The opinion highlights the need for systematic involvement of sub-national levels of governance and calls for a participatory method during the process of defining and revising the Nationally Determined contributions (NDCs). ENVE voted for NDCs to include an aggregation of regionally and locally determined contributions in order to recognise the role of subnational authorities in the achievement of Paris Agreement goals.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Those carbon savings identified by national governments fall well short of what we need to achieve the Paris Climate Goals and we have to see what role we, as local governments, can play", said Cllr. Cooper in his speech, adding that "we are not seeking new system of bureaucracy but to build and strengthen reporting methodologies that already exist."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The opinion also calls for a continuation of the Talanoa Dialogue, the newly established bottom-up process that encourages input from different range of non-state actors. The final vote of Cllr Cooper's opinion is scheduled for CoR's 4-5 July Plenary Session.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the same meeting, ENVE adopted the opinions on the revision of the Directive on the quality of water for human consumption and on rules for internal market in natural gas.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
CIVEX: Mairi Gougeon calls for better communication on the importance of Europe in citizens' liveshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/CIVEX-Gougeon-better-communication-importance-Europe-citizens-lives.aspx2018-04-10T22:00:00ZCIVEX: Mairi Gougeon calls for better communication on the importance of Europe in citizens' lives<p style="text-align:justify;">​During the 18th meeting of the CIVEX commission, which took place in Brussels on 11 April 2018, members adopted opinions on the European Commission's Action Plan to support the protection of public spaces and on the contribution of local and regional authorities to Eastern Partnership deliverables for 2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In addition, as part of the "Reflecting on Europe" process, CIVEX members held a debate with Ms Valérie Gomez-Bassac, member of the French National Assembly's Commission for European Affairs and rapporteur for the Information Report on the democratic conventions for re-building Europe, recently launched by French President Emmanuel Macron. During the debate, member of the Scottish Parliament Ms Mairi Angela Gougeon argued that BREXIT has made people in the UK reflect on and evaluate the importance of Europe in their lives and regretted that it had not been communicated more and better in the past.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Maupertuis: the future EU budget should continue promoting solidarity and balanced development across all regionshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Maupertuis-future-EU-budget-should-continue-promoting-solidarity-and-balanced-development-across-all-regions.aspx2018-03-22T23:00:00ZMaupertuis: the future EU budget should continue promoting solidarity and balanced development across all regions<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 23 March CoR members debated in the Plenary Session on the future budget of the EU post 2020 in the presence of Jan Olbricht MEP.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Marie Antoinette Maupertuis, EA Group political coordinator in the COTER commission and member of the executive Council of Corsica regional authority said that "while we understand new means will have to be found to finance new priorities, we cannot expect the EU to improve its perception towards the citizens and at the same time undermining the policies that are mostly visible to them such as cohesion policy and common agricultural policy". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">We call for the future cohesion policy to cover all regions and to place greater attention on peripheral areas such as islands that in order to reap benefit of the single market, need better accessibility, connectivity, transport and digital infrastructure. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">We would like the future EU budget to continue promoting solidarity and balanced development across all EU regions" she concluded.<br></p>
Wróbel to Hahn: local authorities must become active partners in developing Eastern Partnership's strategyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Wróbel-to-Hahn-local-authorities-must-become-active-partners-in-developing-Eastern-Partnership's-strategy.aspx2018-03-21T23:00:00ZWróbel to Hahn: local authorities must become active partners in developing Eastern Partnership's strategy<p style="text-align:justify;">​During a debate with the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, held on 22 March, EA group's CIVEX coordinator and mayor of Opole Lubelskie, Mr Dariusz Wróbel stressed that in order for the Eastern Partnership's policy to bring the greatest benefits to citizens, local authorities must become active partners in developing the Partnership's strategy.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Wróbel reminded that Poland, along with Sweden was the main initiator of the Eastern Partnership and has provided strong and continuous support for the initiative, particularly in the field of development cooperation. However, he also added that it is necessary to increase the interest of other EU member states for the eastern neighbourhood.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Finally, Mr Wróbel repeated that the Eastern Partnership requires solidarity and cooperation in the broadest sense and that it is necessary to exchange experiences especially on issues related to decentralization, democratization and increasing direct citizen participation in achieving the Partnership's objectives.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
EA members outline local efforts in migrant integration to Commissioner Avramopoulos http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/EA-members-outline-local-efforts-in-migrant-integration-to-Commissioner-Avramopoulos-.aspx2018-03-21T23:00:00ZEA members outline local efforts in migrant integration to Commissioner Avramopoulos <p style="text-align:justify;">​On 22 March, members of the European Committee of the Regions held a debate on the integration of migrants and social cohesion with Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the debate, several EA group members took the floor, shared their local good practices and outlined the main challenges they are facing in their communities.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">EA group president, Mr Karl Vanlouwe stressed that successful integration of migrants must be based on three pillars as is already the case in Flanders: language acquisition, assistance in the acceptance of host society's norms and values and career orientation to enable the newcomers to access the job market as quickly as possible. Member of the Scottish Parliament Ms Mairi Gougeon presented the "New Scots" integration strategy which coordinates efforts across all sectors to support refugees and asylum seekers in their integration from day one while delegate of the Government of Navarre, Mr Mikel Irujo Amezaga proposed to replicate some of the financial instruments available to local and regional authorities in innovation policy in the field of integration of migrants and social cohesion. Finally, Mr Kieran McCarthy of the Cork City Council highlighted the Action Plan of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees and shared some of the concerns expressed in the document, such as problems in acquiring funds from the national government to address the integration issues, different political priorities across member states and regions, insufficient alignment of EU funds to the needs of local authorities needs as well as the need for better synergies and better brokering links.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Stenson: The LRAs and citizens must be consulted prior to any forest development decisionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Stenson-The-LRAs-and-citizens-must-be-consulted-prior-to-any-forest-development-decision.aspx2018-03-08T23:00:00ZStenson: The LRAs and citizens must be consulted prior to any forest development decision<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 9 March 2018 the Members of NAT commission discussed and adopted the opinion on the EU Forest Strategy. Forests cover 43% of the land area of the EU's Member States. On 20 September 2013 the Commission adopted a new EU Forest Strategy which responds to the new challenges facing forests and the forest sector. Local and regional authorities are not only important stakeholders in forestry-related matters, but also genuine interested parties in the same way that forest owners are.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Leitrim County Councilor and <span><span>EA Coordinator for NAT commission </span></span>Enda Stenson called for local and regional authorities and those living in regions to be consulted in matters concerning the use and protection of forests. Stenson said that "there is a need for balanced and sustainable land management concerning forests." "The use of socially sustainable forests requires long-term spatial planning. In matters concerning the use and protection of forests, local and regional authorities and those living in regions must be consulted." - he added.</p>
The Committee of the Regions can play a positive role in cooperation with the local government in Ukraine http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/The-Committee-of-the-Regions-can-play-a-positive-role-in-cooperation-with-the-local-government-in-Ukraine-.aspx2018-03-07T23:00:00ZThe Committee of the Regions can play a positive role in cooperation with the local government in Ukraine <p style="text-align:justify;">​In early 2015 the European Committee of the Regions decided to set up a task force with local authorities from Ukraine with an idea to exchange best practices on decentralisation and discuss other relevant topics, such as territorial cooperation and regional policy. Since the beginning of this project, First Vice President of the European Alliance group and member of the Gdynia City Council Stanisław Szwabski has played an important role in contributing to its work in particular in the areas of decentralisation, local government reform and capacity building.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">An important next step in the cooperation with Ukrainian local authorities is the development of peer to peer initiative where cities and regions from the European Union can give valuable advice to their counterparts in Ukraine on a number of specific topics, with current focus being on public service training, education and local economic development to name but a few.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The CoR Task Force on Ukraine met in Brussels on 8 March and is scheduled to have its next meeting in Ukraine in September.<br></p>
COTER: Kieran McCarthy presents report on the EU Urban Agendahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/COTER-Kieran-McCarthy-presents-report-on-the-EU-Urban-Agenda.aspx2018-02-26T23:00:00ZCOTER: Kieran McCarthy presents report on the EU Urban Agenda<p style="text-align:justify;">​During the meeting of the COTER commission on 27 February members discussed the scenarios outlined in a recent communication of the Commission on the future financial framework and the possible implications for Cohesion Policy. Members reiterated their support for a strong cohesion policy for all regions, including the European Social Fund and rejected any attempt of centralisation. Two opinions on the cost of non-cohesion and the future of ESF were approved by overwhelming majority.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">COTER members also held a first discussion on the implementation assessment report on the EU Urban Agenda for which, Kieran McCarthy, EA member and Cork city councillor is rapporteur. The CoR advocate a greater role for cities in the EU institutional framework in view of the recognition of their ever growing role and influence. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr McCarthy emphasised the importance of empowering cities of all sizes, in particular, second cities, in order for them to contribute in a meaningful way to the EU Urban Agenda and EU policy making process. The opinion will be discussed and voted upon at the next meeting in April.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Mikel Irujo's opinion on strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth adopted by unanimity at the SEDEC commissionhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Mikel-Irujo's-opinion-on-strategies-for-resilient,-inclusive-and-sustainable-growth-adopted-by-unanimity-at-the-SEDEC-commi.aspx2018-02-20T23:00:00ZMikel Irujo's opinion on strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth adopted by unanimity at the SEDEC commission<p style="text-align:justify;">​At the 17th meeting of the CoR's Commission for social policy, education, employment, research and culture (SEDEC), held in Brussels on 21 February, members unanimously adopted the opinion "Strengthening Innovation in Europe's Regions: Strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth" drafted by EA member Mikel Irujo Amezaga, representative of the government of Navarre to the EU.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the opinion, Mr Irujo argues that interregional cooperation based on smart specialisation strategies will help to build and reshape the EU value chains by promoting the synergy of investments between the private and public sectors, thus contributing to the development of the EU economy as a whole, and outlines a number of proposals in this regard. The report follows his previous opinion "Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3): impact for regions and inter-regional cooperation" which was adopted by the CoR plenary in March 2017. Mr Irujo's opinion is scheduled to be adopted by the CoR plenary session in May this year.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Other topics discussed during the meeting include the modalities to strengthen the European identity through education and culture, boosting broadband connectivity in Europe and using cultural heritage as a strategic resource for more cohesive and sustainable regions in the EU.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
Szwabski and Silberg discuss Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in Gizahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Szwabski-and-Silberg-discuss-Euro-Mediterranean-cooperation-in-Giza.aspx2018-02-20T23:00:00ZSzwabski and Silberg discuss Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in Giza<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 20 and 21 February, Egypt hosted the 9th annual meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM), body composed of representatives of local and regional authorities from all sides of the Mediterranean basin which complements the work of the Union for the Mediterranean.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Among other topics, members discussed the role of local and regional authorities in manging migration as well as women's empowerment in the Mediterranean region. It was also agreed that the priority topics for next year's meeting will be youth entrepreneurship and transparency in governance. The host, Governor of Giza Mr Mohamed Kamal El Daly also showed delegates a renewable-energy project in the city of Cairo financed by EU funds.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The meeting saw participation by over 40 representatives of local and regional authorities from the EU, Western Balkans, North Africa and East Mediterranean and the EA group was represented by Mr Stanisław Szwabski from the Gdynia City Council (Poland) and mr Uno Silberg, from the Kose Rural Municipality Council (Estonia).</p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>
McCarthy calls on the Bulgarian Presidency to set the right climate for the MFF negotiations and focus on digital economyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/McCarthy-calls-on-the-Bulgarian-Presidency-to-set-the-right-climate-for-the-MFF-negotiations-and-focus-on-digital-economy.aspx2018-01-31T23:00:00ZMcCarthy calls on the Bulgarian Presidency to set the right climate for the MFF negotiations and focus on digital economy<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 1 February, members of the European Committee of the Regions held a debate on the priorities of the Bulgarian presidency of the EU Council with Mr Tomislav Donchev, Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the debate, Mr Donchev outlined the presidency's main ambitions in the next 6 months and particularly stressed the need for more solidarity and cohesion within the EU, as well as the simplification of rules and procedures.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Member of the Cork City Council Kieran McCarthy urged the Bulgarian presidency to create the right environment for the start of negotiations on the new multiannual financial framework (MFF), due to start by the end of the presidency's mandate, and ensure that the future of EU's cohesion policy is not put in question as a consequence of the budgetary cuts imposed by Brexit. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As a CoR rapporteur on the European Digital Economy, Mr McCarthy also called on the Bulgarian authorities to dedicate special attention to the "digital cohesion" within the EU, in particular to insist on securing funds for providing high-speed broadband coverage and meeting other infrastructural requirements for a successful development of digital economy in the EU.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Finally, looking forward to the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Mr McCarthy expressed satisfaction that a country like Bulgaria, whose people look after their cultural identity and heritage, will chair the European Council for the first half of this important event.  <br></p>
Stanisław Szwabski calls for the future EU budget to be at least as ambitious as the current onehttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Stanisław-Szwabski-calls-for-the-future-EU-budget-to-be-at-least-as-ambitious-as-the-current-one.aspx2018-01-30T23:00:00ZStanisław Szwabski calls for the future EU budget to be at least as ambitious as the current one<div style="text-align:justify;">During the 127th plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions, members held a debate with the Portuguese Prime Minister Mr António Costa on the future of Europe. The EA group was represented by its 1st vice president ad Gdynia City Councilor Mr Stanisław Szwabski who highlighted the importance of the European Investment Plan (EIP) for growth and development and stressed that the EIP has triggered €225 billion worth of investment and granted loans to 450,000 small firms and more than 270 infrastructure projects so far.<br><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">Mr Szwabski said that "Brexit cannot and should not define our engagement in the Future of Europe debate. That said, there is no getting away from the fact that an EU without the UK will have an effect on the political dynamics within the EU and its budget. But we should ensure that the EU budget is at least as ambitious as in this period. Local and regional authorities have important powers and competences in policy areas such as research and innovation, education and skills, export support, infrastructure, SMEs and regulation and they must be involved in decisions on strategic areas where it is important to screen foreign direct investment."<br><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">He added that, in order to preserve social harmony, "endogenous growth must be possible everywhere so that all regions – including rural areas – can participate in value creation and have the opportunity to create and retain skilled local jobs" and supported the strategic objective of industry making up 20% of GDP as of 2020.<br><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">Mr Szwabski also called for more attention to be put on students and pupils who don't have the right attitudes "to face volatile job markets and fast changing societies" as recently remarked by EU education commissioner Tibor Navracsics. "Our educational systems are not adapted to the new reality and children should have at least one entrepreneurial experience before they leave compulsory education," Mr Szwabski stressed.<br><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">Mr Kieran McCarthy from the Cork City Council also took part in the debate, stressing in particular the uneven recovery from the crisis across the EU. "The deepening of the economic and monetary union is a key source of worry for EU citizens. All citizens have made sacrifices in their weekly budget. All local and regional authorities have been affected and have suffered cuts. As we emerge into a new space of economic recovery, it is clear that the recovery is spread unevenly. Most noticeably, there is a concentration of recovery in the capital cities with large scale de-population of rural areas as a result. The recovery needs to be spread evenly and should be for everyone", concluded Mr McCarthy. </div>
European Alliance president Karl Vanlouwe calls on the European Commission to act on Cataloniahttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/European-Alliance-president-Karl-Vanlouwe-calls-on-the-European-Commission-to-act-on-Catalonia.aspx2018-01-30T23:00:00ZEuropean Alliance president Karl Vanlouwe calls on the European Commission to act on Catalonia<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 31 January, members of the European Committee of the Regions held a debate with Mr Frans Timmermans, 1st Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights. During the debate, president of the European Alliance group and member of the Flemish Parliament Karl Vanlouwe severely criticised the attitude of the European Commission towards Catalonia.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Vanlouwe stressed that a democratic call for more autonomy made by Catalan people should not be beaten down in an undemocratic way and added that the situation in Catalonia exposes the hypocrisy of the EU which regularly addresses reprimands to different countries about the rule of law and fundamental rights but remains silent when the same rights and freedoms are violated in one of its own member states.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Vanlouwe further asked Mr Timmermans about his opinion on arrest warrants issued against elected representatives who are being persecuted for their political opinions and added that "we are living in the year 2018 and still one of [EU's] member states has political prisoners behind bars."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The point was reinforced by Ms Mairi Gougeon, Member of the Scottish Parliament who added that "democracy does not mean living in fear of violence" and that violent suppression of one's political opinion is not the future of Europe.<br></p>
EA group members visit Flemish Parliament in Brusselshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/EA-group-members-visit-Flemish-Parliament-in-Brussels.aspx2018-01-29T23:00:00ZEA group members visit Flemish Parliament in Brussels<p style="text-align:justify;">​On Tuesday 30 January, members of the EA group attending the plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions paid a visit to the Flemish Parliament upon invitation by EA group president Mr Karl Vanlouwe.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The members had an opportunity to find out more about the role and competences of the Flemish parliament, its place in the Belgian federal system, as well as the priorities of the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), the biggest party in the parliament and the single biggest party in Flanders and Belgium. After the presentation, Mr Vanlouwe and other EA group members from Flanders led the members on a tour of the Parliament's buildings.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">EA group members very delighted by the opportunity to visit this important institution and largely commented that the visit allowed them to see the political system in Flanders in a completely new light.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In addition to Mr Vanlouwe, EA group members and alternates from Flanders are Mr Andries Gryffroy, Mr Marc Hendrickx, Mr Wilfried Vandaele, Mr Jan Van Esbroeck and Mr Karim Van Overmeire, all members of the Flemish Parliament.<br></p>
"Scotland must remain in at least the Single Market and Customs Union"http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Scotland-must-remain-in-at-least-the-Single-Market-and-Customs-Union.aspx2018-01-22T23:00:00Z"Scotland must remain in at least the Single Market and Customs Union"<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 23 January, European Alliance group organised a lunchtime briefing on the consequences of BREXIT for Scotland, with a focus on the areas of employment and investment. The briefing was given by Ms Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in the Scottish Government.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 15 January, Scotland's Prime Minster Nicola Sturgeon presented Scottish Government's report analysing consequences of different Brexit scenarios which forecasts that Scotland’s economy may lose up to £16bn (€18bn) a year as a result of the UK leaving the EU. Ms Hyslop presented the report and offered first-hand information on how Scottish Government sees the Brexit process and what measures it is considering in order to mitigate its negative implications for the country's economy.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is clear from the Scottish government's perspective that a Brexit which results in the UK being outside the European Single Market and Customs Union will have the most damaging consequences for Scotland. The Government believes that Scotland’s future is best served by continued EU membership, in line with the wishes of the Scottish people as expressed in the referendum in 2016. However, if Brexit proves to be inevitable, Ms Hyslop argued that Scotland's interests are best protected by the UK remaining inside the European Single Market and Customs Union and maintaining the freedom of movement within the EU.<br></p>
Truskolaski stresses diversification and innovation of EU enterprises and the role of SMEs in the EU Strategy for Industryhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Truskolaski-stresses-diversification-and-innovation-of-EU-enterprises-and-the-role-of-SMEs-in-the-European-Strategy-for-Ind.aspx2018-01-22T23:00:00ZTruskolaski stresses diversification and innovation of EU enterprises and the role of SMEs in the EU Strategy for Industry<p style="text-align:justify;">​During the ECON committee meeting on 23 January Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski, EA Coordinator for this Commission and Mayor of Białystok responded to the debate on the European Strategy for Industry. "Local and Regional Authorities have important powers and competences in policy areas such as research and innovation, education and skills, export support, infrastructure, SMEs and regulation and they must get involved in deciding on strategic areas where it is important to screen foreign direct investment", stressed Mr Truskolaski and asked for a particular emphasis to be given to diversification and innovation of EU enterprises underlying the role of SMEs in the European Strategy for Industry.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"There is a need to limit access of social dumping to EU market. A good solution would be also to apply certain import limits. Innovation in different mechanisms, start-ups, scale-ups, SMEs and other are highly recommended to protect our industry" added Mr Truskolaski. <br></p>