Local and regional leaders on present and future of major EU policies and challenges


The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will hold its fifth plenary session of the year in parallel with the 14th European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), which will bring Cohesion Policy experts and policymakers together with project managers from across Europe for a four-days programme of 130 workshops, events and project visits.

Also, on 13 October, the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) will officially sign an Action Plan with the CoR .

At the plenary session, which will be web-streamed, 14 opinions will be adopted by local and regional politicians:

Delivering the Global Climate Agreement – A Territorial Approach to COP22 in Marrakech : After Paris, much is at stake: the implementation of the actual agreement, the gap between objectives and commitments to limit global warming to well below 2°C, the setting up of a system of multi-level global governance of climate issues that fully integrates cities and regions, and the need to tailor financial instruments in order to fast-forward climate action on the ground. European regions and cities want their voice heard during COP22 in Marrakech. In an opinion drafted by Francesco Pigliaru, president of Sardinia (IT/PES), the CoR is to vote on concrete proposals to convert the Paris deal into action
Speeding Up Connectivity: the Digital Single Market. In September, the European Commission presented new proposals to improve connectivity in Europe. They include an overhaul of EU telecoms rules, deployment of 5G and Wi-Fi networks and access to extremely high-gigabit connections. Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, will debate these new initiatives and other legislative proposals, which are the focus of three opinions by local and regional politicians:
  • EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 – Accelerating the digital transformation of government (rapporteur: Martin Andreasson, Member of Västra Götaland Regional Council, SE/EPP).
  • Digitising European Industry – Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market (rapporteur: Kieran McCarthy, Cork City Council, IE/EA).
  • European Cloud Initiative – Building a competitive data and knowledge economy in Europe (rapporteur: Anne Karjalainen, City councillor of Kerava, FI/PES).
Simplification of ESIF from the perspective of Local and Regional Authorities: The European Structural and Investment Funds are the EU's main investment tool but programme and project implementation is often slowed down by discrepancies between EU regulations and rules in individual countries, auditing and control requirements, imbalanced application of state-aid rules and other obstacles. In an opinion drafted by Petr Osvald (CZ/PES), Councillor of the City of Plzeň, local leaders distil their views on how to make ESIF more effective and timely without weakening the fight against misuses and corruption.
State Aid and Services of General Economic Interest: The impact of the EU's state-aid controls on local and regional public services is the focus of an opinion drafted by Markus Töns (DE/PES), Member of the North Rhine-Westphalia Landtag. He calls for a simplification of state-aid rules, legal certainty and more flexibility for local and regional authorities and suggests that social public services should not be subject solely to competition and market rules.
The European Pillar of Social Rights: After years of high unemployment and austerity, the European Commission has launched a consultation on a European pillar of social rights. The CoR draft opinion is prepared by Heinz-Joachim Höfer (DE/PES), Mayor of Altenkirchen. It outlines that strong social safeguards could help Member States address social inequalities, combat social dumping, bring social standards up, and consolidate the EU's aims of inclusive and sustainable growth.
An EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy: The action plan's aim is to move the EU towards a sustainable economic model that brings growth and jobs while respecting the environment. This opinion has been drafted by Babette Winter (DE/PES), State Secretary for Europe and Culture in the Thuringia State Chancellery. It calls for greater emphasis on education and awareness-raising, action to promote mandatory 'green public procurement', the revision of eco-design provisions, and increased use of taxation to support secondary raw-material markets.
An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling: Increasing the efficiency of heating and cooling, which accounts for 50% of energy consumed in the EU, is critical to achieving the EU's energy objectives. In an opinion drafted by Daiva Matonienė (LT/ECR), Member of Šiauliai City Counci, EU's regions and cities call on the Commission to make more specific policy recommendations and to review existing financial support mechanisms. Local leaders also ask for the removal of barriers to the development of combined heat and power (CHP) plants and networks. The Commission presented its energy and security package in February.

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Last modified on Monday, 10 October 2016 19:45