Enda Stenson emphasises the need to focus on prevention in European Commission's health strategyhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Enda-Stenson-emphasises-the-need-to-focus-on-prevention-in-European-Commission's-health-strategy.aspx2018-01-21T23:00:00ZEnda Stenson emphasises the need to focus on prevention in European Commission's health strategy<div style="text-align:justify;"> During the NAT commission meeting on 22 January Mr Enda Stenson, EA Coordinator for NAT commission and member of the Leitrim County Council participated in a debate with European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis on the state of health in the EU. He presented the Irish centralised health and social system which, in his words, is "unsustainable in the long run, as attested by the previous recommendations from the European Semester process, the 2016 Euro Health Consumer Index and our own parliamentary committee".</div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">Mr Stenson welcomed the focus on prevention and said that excellent initiatives such as the 5km 'park run' should be supported. He also highlighted the Operation Transformation programme which managed to mobilise efforts of the whole community, including schools, businesses and citizens of all ages.</div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">Mr Stenson also said that he would like to see more action on the dangers of over-consumption of alcohol and smoking. Finally, he added, "As our demographics change we also need to change the system which serves our citizens, bringing care closer to citizens, strengthening primary care, putting people firmly in the driving seat of their own healthcare management and making sure that they actively take part in all care and cure decisions. Empowered, supported and informed patients – these are in my view the key elements to make any healthcare system effective and resilient."<br></div>
BREXIT worries highlighted by European Alliance group membershttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/BREXIT-worries-highlighted-by-European-Alliance-group-members.aspx2017-11-30T23:00:00ZBREXIT worries highlighted by European Alliance group members<p style="text-align:justify;">​During the European Committee of the Regions' 126th Plenary session members held an emotive debate on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union and shared some of the main concerns over the impact it will have on their regions and citizens. Guests speakers included Brian Hayes MEP who outlined the priority of an agreement on Irish border issues.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cllr Enda Stenson, member of Leitrim County Council reminded everyone of the devastating effect a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland had in the past and said that we cannot return to those days. He urged that a solution be found that would suit those living on the whole island of Ireland.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The European Alliance Group President Karl Vanlouwe highlighted the impact on Flanders, in particular the very high level of trade it has with the UK. Cllr Andrew Cooper said the British people were conned by the Brexiters and much of their campaign, including claims of the alleged financial benefits of Brexit for the NHS, has now been shown as false.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mairi Gougeon, Member of the Scottish Parliament focused on the need to protect citizens' rights post BREXIT while Cllr Kieran McCarthy from the Cork City Council outlined the need for continued cooperation projects in particular around the Atlantic Area.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Finally, East Renfrewshire Councilor Tony Buchanan outlined a worrying perspective of Brexit's impact on local services in Scotland and also reinforced the need for continued cooperation.<br></p>
The European Union cannot stay silent on Catalonia, say Karl Vanlouwe and Mairi Gougeon http://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/The-European-Union-cannot-stay-silent-on-Catalonia-says-Karl-Vanlouwe,-European-Alliance-Group-President-.aspx2017-11-30T23:00:00ZThe European Union cannot stay silent on Catalonia, say Karl Vanlouwe and Mairi Gougeon <p style="text-align:justify;">​During the 126th Plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions, EA Group members called on the European institutions to take stance and not ignore recent developments in Catalonia.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">At the margins of a debate with the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici, Karl Vanlouwe, EA Group President and member of the Flemish Parliament said that the “EU cannot stay silent when there are political prisoners in Europe. As a democrat I cannot ignore Catalonia, it is my duty to talk about the elephant in the room and call for the release of the 10 political prisoners in Spain."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Another EA group member and Member of the Scottish Parliament, Mairi Gougeon criticized the decision not to hold a debate on the issue. “There is no bigger issue in the regions in Europe right now than Catalonia and I find it shocking that we do not discuss this and that we seem to be ignoring a large group of citizens”.<br></p>
Enda Stenson’s opinion on Smart Villages adopted by the CoR Plenaryhttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Enda-Stenson’s-opinion-on-Smart-Villages-adopted-by-the-CoR-Plenary.aspx2017-11-30T23:00:00ZEnda Stenson’s opinion on Smart Villages adopted by the CoR Plenary<p style="text-align:justify;">​During the November 2017 Plenary Session members of the European Committee of the Regions adopted the opinion on the revitalisation of rural areas through Smart Villages, drafted by EA member and member of the Leitrim County Council Cllr Enda Stenson.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the opinion, Cllr Stenson proposes expanding the notion of Smart Villages to that of Smart Rural Areas and incorporating the initiative into the European Rural Agenda, so as to also encourage and develop synergies between neighbouring small villages within Smart Rural Areas. He also calls the stakeholders to start the preparatory work as soon as possible to put a sustainable and effective programme for Smart Villages in place for the next funding period.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“With this opinion we welcome the European Commission’s initiative on EU Action for Smart Villages which recognises the need for targeted actions to support the revival of rural areas as sustainable places in which to live and work. Enhancing rural prosperity and the viability of rural areas are among the most urgent tasks, since a more balanced territorial development is the basis for achieving greater socio-economic and environmental sustainability,” said Mr Stenson.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">He also added: “However I should say that we regret the lack of ambition outlined in the paper, which represents a compilation of pre-existing initiatives. In this text we call for greater ambition and the development of a targeted and forward-looking policy on Smart Villages with a view to the post 2020 period, which builds on the need to consolidate the full range of place-based EU smart instruments.” “As the rapporteur, I would like to draw attention to the importance of close coordination at all levels of governance, with due respect for the principle of subsidiarity in order to define “bottom up” and “place based” solutions. The rural proofing should be integrated into the policy and training to be provided to target groups such as farmers”, Mr Stenson concluded.<br></p>
Tadeusz Truskolaski calls Commissioner Vestager to provide greater support for start-ups and scale-upshttp://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Pages/Tadeusz-Truskolaski-calls-the-European-Commission-to-provide-greater-support-for-start-ups-and-scale-ups.aspx2017-11-30T23:00:00ZTadeusz Truskolaski calls Commissioner Vestager to provide greater support for start-ups and scale-ups<p style="text-align:justify;">​On 1 December 2017, members of the European Committee of the Regions held a debate with European Commissioner for Competition, Ms Margrethe Vestager. During the debate, Mr Tadeusz Truskolaski, Mayor of Białystok particularly emphasised the promotion of small- and medium-sized enterprises and their importance the European economy and regional development.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The topic of competitiveness is of paramount importance for the EU. We all have an interest in the success of European businesses. Ultimately, this success will translate into higher quality of life and the well-being of all citizens. However, these economic achievements will not be possible without our efforts to include start-ups and scale-ups," Truskolaski noted.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Referring to his opinion, adopted by the European Committee of the Regions' July plenary session, Mr Truskolaski stressed that, from the local and regional perspective, support for start-ups and scale-ups is an important factor in increasing the number of jobs in the regions. "Working with partners from European, national, regional and local public authorities is of great importance if we want to create conditions for start-ups to scale-ups to work properly," he added, noting that "financial and legal differences in Member States represent a serious barrier to the development of innovative businesses.”</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Truskolaski also highlighted the benefits of creating a European venture capital fund, enquiring whether the Commission would envisage creating its regional offices.<br></p>