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June 2015

Priorities of the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions

The Juncker Investment Plan The Investment Plan for Europe aims to unlock public and private investments in the real economy. On the occasion of the June Plenary Session, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, will hear the concerns of local and regional authorities and reassure them that everything will be done to create synergies with the EU’s structural funds. Speaking to the EPP Group in the CoR, President Juncker said:

“The €315 billion that will be mobilised by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) will ensure our economy continues to grow long into the future – and restore jobs and opportunities to our people. This plan is vital for the future of Europe and all of its regions: so I welcome the input of the Committee of the Regions and its political groups. Funding from the Investment Plan for Europe will complement other vital EU sources such as the European Structural and Investment Funds — indeed in many cases a single project will be able to

benefit from multiple different sources of financing. However, let me be clear: we want new investments in the economy. The new fund will not replace other funding - the whole point with the EFSI is to mobilise finance

to projects that would not have happened otherwise under the same conditions. There will be no earmarking for regions or sectors but the new Fund should benefit regions across Europe, including the ones most affected by the

crisis. This is very important to the European Parliament and I share that objective. To help ensure this, we will put in place under the Plan a one-stop shop for advisory services, making all existing EU technical assistance programmes easily accessible. Regional authorities and project promoters will be able to get assistance that is tailormade to their needs when constructing projects. I hope to continue to count on the support of the Committee of the Regions and all other institutions to ensure the final and formal steps of the legislation are concluded quickly, with the EFSI up and running by September at the latest.” ■

Reforming Europe's Labour Markets: It's Our Job

A sustainable EU approach to migration via the Mediterranean

During the EPP Group meeting on 3 June, Siegfried Mureșan, MEP and EPP spokesman, will present a new approach to job creation based on his research into the realities of current, modern EU labour markets, which he undertook alongside Eoin Drea for the Martens Centre for European Studies. He proposes: • simplifying EU employment policies and coordinating them more effectively; • introducing clearly defined actions to increase labour mobility among and within Member States; • switching the priority from combatting employment to creating jobs and financing the recovery by building a bridge between investment ■ and reform.

Following the tragedies in the Mediterranean, Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship proposed a European Agenda on Migration on 13 April. The proposal sets out a European response, combining internal and external policies, making best use of EU agencies and tools, and involving all actors: EU countries and institutions, international organisations, civil society, local authorities and national partners outside the EU. The CoR will adopt its resolution during the Plenary. Responding to the Commission proposal, Michael Schneider, President of the EPP Group in the CoR said: “it is necessary to equip regional and local authorities with the necessary means to respond effectively to emergency situations”. ■


Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States

Mauro D’Attis, Member of Brindisi Municipal Council, Italy SEDEC-VI-001

As the economic situation in the covered by these guidelines and are control on the use of the European EU continues to improve, employ- essential partners for designing and Social Fund to address employment has started to pick up and implementing the National Reform ment, social inclusion and cohesion improvements are now material- Programmes. The opinion can be without adding red tape; targeted ising in most sectors. However, summarised by the following key actions to increase skills among young people; notably considerable challengwithin the digital and green es remain. Councillor “The consequences of economies which have been D’Attis therefore prothe crisis vary considpositive throughout the reposes that the European erably between Memcession and are forecast to Commission’s employber states and regions. remain quite strong; enment policy guidelines Because local and recouragement of independprovide financing ingional authorities play an important role in ent entrepreneurship and struments to help local the implementation of self-employment, which and regional authorinational employment has an undeniable impact ties fulfil their responsiGeorges Bach, legislation, it is imporon economic growth at lobilities. The revision of MEP and EPP shadow tant for me to consider the 2010 Employment cal level; smarter rules on rapporteur on the Guidelines the local and regional Guidelines are addressed mobility, which promote for the Employment Policies dimension of the differof the Member States to Member States with comprehensive and longent measures directed the intention of addressterm social investment by to the Member states in the new employment guidelines.” regional and local authoriing consequences of ties in line with the right the crisis and providing practical guidance on the priorities proposals: greater synergies with to free movement of workers, and of the new agenda. However, he the new European investment pol- which may be able to prevent highly argues that local and regional au- icy aimed at encouraging expendi- qualified people from leaving the arthorities have considerable compe- ture for long-term benefits and eas where they are most needed. ■ tences and capacities in the fields supporting local initiatives; a better

A decent Life for all: from vision to collective action

Hans Janssen, Mayor of Oisterwijk, Netherlands/EPP CIVEX-VI/001

The objective of this own-initiative opinion is to contribute to the United Nations’ efforts to develop and localise a new transformative post-2015 agenda. Mayor Janssen endorses the view that this presents a unique opportunity to renew and strengthen cooperation within the international community that the agenda should be rights-based with strong links to good governance, democracy and the rule of law. Looking to the main priorities, the rapporteur suggests that efforts should be stepped up to reduce inequality both within and between countries. Moreover, these differences may justify specific indicators, approaches or targets which will need to be discussed between national governments and local and regional authorities. Mayor Janssen also underlines that local and regional authorities regularly weigh up policy issues and take po-

litical decisions in addition to implementing them. Turning to their involvement in the city sustainability goals, the opinion stresses local and regional competences and

adds that cities are also drivers of growth, increasing the potential for domestic resources and contributing to the financial basis for achieving other goals. ■

The Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions on the Global development framework after 2015 represents a valuable contribution to the intergovernmental negotiations on the new set of Sustainable development goals to be adopted at the UN General Assembly in September this year. As stressed in the Parliament’s resolution, it is important to include all stakeholders involved, including local authorities, in Davor Ivo Stier, shaping of the new agenda as they will be crucial MEP and EPP coordinator for its implementation. Moreover, since this time for the European Parliament Committee on Development the new global development framework will be universal, meaning it will apply to EU Member States along with developing countries, the role of the European regions becomes even more prominent. In this sense, I strongly endorse the view of the CoR rapporteur in expressing the need for a rights-based approach to development, as well the crucial role of good governance, democracy and the rule of law in the new framework, while having in mind that to achieve any of these objectives, local authorities will be our key partners.


Improving the functioning of the European Union: Lisbon Treaty and beyond

During the Plenary Session, a debate on the functioning of the Lisbon Treaty and the constitutional future of Europe will be held with participation from MEPs Elmar Brok, Mercedes Bresso and Guy Verhofstadt. This is not the first

time that the CoR will enter into a conversation of this type. Indeed, the EPP Group participated actively in the European Convention responsible for drafting the constitution for Europe in 2001 and more recently, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, MEP and former President of the CoR, presented a report on the possible role of the CoR in the future. “With the prospect of a revision

of the treaties, I would call for the CoR to develop into a ‘European Senate of the Regions’. This EU institution would have the necessary status and powers to take part in the legislative process to stand up for the key interests of local and regional authorities. It would be involved as an observer in the ‘trialogue’ between the Parliament, Council and Commission on priority issues, and would have to give its

formal approval for any legislative proposal relating to economic, social or territorial cohesion” he outlined. As pressure increases on the EU to reform, the EPP Group in the CoR will call for a strengthened territorial dimension and scrutiny of EU legislation under the current Lisbon Treaty and offer to participate in ■ any future convention.

Which region will be recognised for its 2016 entrepreneurial policies? The European Entrepreneurial Region is a project that identifies and rewards EU regions which show an outstanding and innovative entrepreneurial policy strategy, irrespective of their size, wealth and competences. During the June Plenary Session, the winners for 2016 will be selected and awarded their prize. Valencia 2015 EER winner

Fifteen European regions have been awarded the EER label so far 2011

Brandenburg (Germany) County Kerry (Ireland) Murcia Region (Spain)

“This is a Region with an enormous entrepreneurial potential, which has always been well known as a land of entrepreneurial people and as a world reference in various economic sectors, thanks to the fact that many of our ancestors opened long time ago the way to entrepreneurship exporting their products all over the world. The Valencian Regional Government continues to promote and support sustainable, smart and inclusive entrepreneurship in our region, boosted by our economic and industrial policy.” Alberto Fabra Part, President of the Valencian Regional Government 2013

2014

2015

Nord-Pas de Calais (France) Southern Denmark Styria (Austria)

Flanders (Belgium) Marche (Italy) North Brabant (Netherlands)

Lisbon (Portugal) Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) The Valencian Region (Spain)

2012

Catalonia (Spain) Helsinki-Uusimaa (Finland) Trnava (Slovak Republic)

Europe level up = governance level down 2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary since the European Charter of Local self-government was adopted in Strasburg. This coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of restoration of the municipal self-government level (gmina) in Poland. To mark the occasion, a conference will take

place at the Committee of the Regions, in the presence of Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, on 4 June with the title “Decentralisation and multilevel governance as key factors for a stronger Europe”. The reforms, subsequently continued by the government of Jerzy Buzek, are considered as one of the most

successful transformations in the recent history in Poland. The conference therefore aims to open a discussion on the condition of the European Union’s self-government level and to underline that decentralisation and multilevel governance are key factors for a stronger Europe. ■

“Self-governance at the local and regional level is a basis for development of mature societies. Decentralisation is well developed in Europe and we can serve as an example for countries from outside the EU. This does not, however, mean that the decentralisation process has been fully completed throughout Europe, as the recent experiences in some countries demonstrate. During the conference we would like to reflect on how we could act for a better self-governance in Europe. We also want to answer the question of how the decentralisation helps to build a sense of responsibility amongst citizens”. Marek Wozniak, Marshal of Wielkopolska

A unique opportunity for local cooperation with developing countries Local and Regional Authorities have a key role in generating collaborative approaches to attaining common development goals. Within this context and against the backdrop of the 2015 European Year of Development, the European Committee of the

Regions will host the 4th "Assises of Decentralised Cooperation" on 1-2 June. This event intends to strengthen development aid effectiveness integrating local and regional authorities into the development cooperation policies and to promote a genuine

EU partnership between the different actors active in this field. The recommendations stemming from the Assises are expected to shape the next steps of the European development policy, particularly in its territorial dimension. The Plenary Session of the

Assises, on the 2nd of June, will be chaired by the European Committee of the Regions President, Markku Markkula. Hans Janssen, Luc Van den Brande, Michel Lebrun and Konstantinos Agorastos will take part from the EPP Group. ■


Societal Innovation In Food And Energy: the way ahead for regional investments

The external meeting of the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions adopted a resolution for the Milan EXPO on 22 May. The main chapters include calls for: 1. A robust, territorial dimension to Europe’s food systems based on a

strong link between producers and consumers and offering support for local production and short marketing chains.

between EU structural funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investments andHorizon 2020. 5. S  mart specialisation strategies, sustainable, innovative cities and modernised rural areas

for a low-carbon and resource efficient economy 6. EU regions and cities promoting sustainable societies as part of

the European Year of Development and with

attention to the target implementation date of the eight Millennium Development Goals for eradicating poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability. 7. An intelligent energy transformation and enhanced energy efficiency

through smart buildings, providing green public lighting system, climate-andenvironmentally friendly transport, efficient water

and waste services as part of the Energy Union goals. 8. Promoting and disseminating good practices in the fields of agriculture, food and energy with an aim to

foster the development of safe and well-functioning food production and distribution systems as well as sustainable energy models for the management of public services and eco-business oriented public projects.

2. E  ducation and better communication for healthy and balanced eating habits through social and

educational campaigns in schools on the importance of a healthy, balanced diet, ­g iving priority to local produce and reducing food waste. 3. I nnovative solutions for a sustainable food system,

which are based on scientific research and which boost consumer confidence 4. Better financing for the innovative food and energy sector, notably SMEs,

through strong synergies

Secretary General: Heinz-Peter Knapp | Editor in chief: Kathryn Owens, kathryn.owens@cor.europa.eu, +32 2 282 2400 | Press Officer: Dominik Krakowiak www.epp.cor.europa.eu

Profile for EPP_CoR

EPP/CoR Plenary In Focus, June 2015  

Priorities for the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions for the June Plenary Session: Highlights include Jean-Claude Juncker o...

EPP/CoR Plenary In Focus, June 2015  

Priorities for the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions for the June Plenary Session: Highlights include Jean-Claude Juncker o...

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