François Decoster aims at relaunching the “Erasmus for local and regional elected representatives. This Erasmus initiative would allow elected representatives to enhance their knowledge about EU Cohesion Policy and regional politicians could thus also learn from each other and launch joint initiatives to the citizens’ benefit!
As the guardian of the interests of local and regional authorities, it is essential for the European Committee of the Regions to evaluate whether the legislative proposal on regulation on the financial rules has taken on board the views of European Cities and Regions, as expressed in its opinions. Based on this evaluation, the CoR will suggest amendments to the legislative proposal where necessary.
The enlargement strategy and the accession of new Member States acts as a guarantee of EU policy implementation and the success of Europe as a whole. While there will be no further EU enlargement during its term of office (2014-2019), the ongoing enlargement process will continue. The process has now reached the point where enlargement discussions with Turkey have been put on hold for various political reasons.
The European Union is facing major societal challenges including migration, ageing, unemployment, climate change and the energy transition. Although these challenges call for significant European investment over the longer term, it is important to be alert to everyday issues in cities and regions, and to look for the solutions at grassroots level rather than in a top-down way.
Space isn’t irrelevant for regions nor is it too far away: space matters, whether through satellite navigation or Earth observation programmes! “A good European space policy can help create jobs, boost growth, and be of strategic importance, pushing the boundaries of science and technology”.
In order to meet the economic, environmental and social challenges created by all this waste, the European Committee of the regions’ rapporteur, Ossi Martikainen (FI/ALDE), called on the EU to adopt a minimum target of reducing food waste by 30% by 2025. In his report adopted at the June plenary, he encourages local and regional authorities to take action by putting in place effective prevention and awareness programmes.
Fraud, fragmentation and the complexity of the VAT system are a major challenge especially for border regions and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Therefore the members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) broadly support the European Commission’s move to modernise VAT in the EU through an opinion prepared by Dainis Turlais (LV/ALDE).
The liberalization of the European aviation market served us well – we have seen strong growth, jobs, trade and mobility but emerging economies outside of the EU and new actors like the ones from the Gulf states make competition fiercer on the European aviation market. We therefore need a more comprehensive European Aviation strategy because a competitive and viable European aviation sector is important for all regional development.
The rapporteur and President of the ALDE Group in the Committee of the Regions (ALDE-CoR) Bart Somers recently presented his report on how to combat radicalisation and prevent violent extremism. As Mayor of Mechelen in Belgium, a very diverse city of 124 nationalities, he has firsthand experience on policies that can help local authorities preventing the process of radicalisation
EU laws should be as simple and reduce the costs of regulation, so that citizens, businesses and authorities can reap the intended benefits of them in the easiest and most straightforward way. To achieve this, the European Commission launched the Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme in 2012, and set up the REFIT platform composed of relevant stakeholders, which collects suggestions and makes recommendations on how to simplify laws.
Alcohol abuse has a large impact on our society, whether it is on the societal, social or economic level. With her report, Ewa-May Karlsson focuses on future action and prevention plans for alcohol-related issues at the EU level with an important contribution from local authorities.
Water management is a capital-intensive policy area in which major investments are made, and these investments will only increase. We need to have a comprehensive approach by including all related policy areas such as agriculture, energy, economy, health… This would reduce possible disinvestment, and create new opportunities and grounds for innovation.
The opinion aims to support internet connectivity of high quality based on very high-speed broadband services, financial assistance within the Union to contribute to the EU’s economic, social and territorial cohesion. To supports the interim target whereby a 5G connection should be available as a commercial service in at least one major city in each Member State by 2020.
Missing links in border regions form part of a wider issue: lack of financing for the development of local and regional transport infrastructure. In view of the upcoming budgetary review there is a necessity to intensify the political effort to close the missing transport links in Europe’s border region.