Cohesion policy, Europe 2020 and the future Presidency of the CoR were top of the agenda at a high level meeting of EPP members in the Committee of the Regions in Warsaw on 19-20 June. Following an invitation from Adam Struzik, Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, representatives of the EPP Group met with Waldemar Pawlak, Poland's Deputy Prime Minister, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Polish Minister of Regional Development and Jan Wyrowiński, Deputy Senate Marshal (the upper chamber of the Polish parliament). The delegation also made a visit to CD PROJEKT Sp. z o. o. a company set up in 1994 by young entrepreneurs, which is supported by EU funds.
Addressing the current debate on the future of the EU Cohesion Policy and the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework, Michael Schneider, President of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions, said "We are all aware of the current controversy in the European Council between the friends of cohesion and the friends of better spending. I personally believe that we need both: a "better spending of cohesion funds." He added that modern Europe should be based on subsidiarity and solidarity. Participants also stressed that Cohesion Policy should not be seen as an aid but an investment. "This is the main tool to stimulate economic growth, create jobs throughout the EU and to help to counterbalance negative impact of the current financial and economic crisis" Adam Struzik said.
The host also presented the main challenges that the Mazowiecki Voivodeship faces; boosting competitiveness and innovation, fostering development of research centres and putting in place sustainable and integrated transport system. He concluded that the support for 'transition regions' would help the voivodeship to continue successfully implementing the EU funds to reduce the gap between Mazovia and other metropolitan regions in the EU.
The EPP delegation also considered the role of local and regional authorities in achieving the objectives set out in the Europe 2020 strategy and the Polish experience of territorial contracts. Under the 2010-2020 National Regional Development Strategy, territorial contracts between regional and central government are named as important financial instruments for regional development. The EPP Group is convinced that local and regional authorities should be included in defining and implementing the National Reform Programmes (NRPs) through Territorial Pacts.