Issuu on Google+

October 2012

Message from the President Spotlight on the CoR President

2 Members on the field OPEN DAYS Local Events Plenary Highlights

3 OPEN DAYS seminar: Innovative regions and cities for territorial development

4 Towards a Banking Union

5 EPP opinions at Plenary

5,6,7,8 Who is who

9 EPP Statutory Congress, 1718 October 2012, Bucharest EPP Resolution on Cohesion and Regional Development

The activity report of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

OPEN DAYS 2012: Europe’s regions and cities making a difference OPEN DAYS: European Week of Regions and Cities, co-organised by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions, is the key event for EU, national, regional and local authorities to showcase and discuss EU cohesion policy management, results and prospects. In its 10th year and against the backdrop of legislative proposals for cohesion policy 20142020, OPEN DAYS will be an opportunity to reflect on the future of Europe’s regional development policy. Beyond this, the debates will

consider the future of Europe and multilevel governance more broadly, showcasing the role that European cities and regions can play in times of economic crisis. The annual meeting between the REGI Committee of the European Parliament and the COTER Commission at the Committee of the Regions will take place in the European Parliament on 10 October. Chaired by Danuta Hübner and Marek Wozniak, there will be a panel debate on the legislative package where the two EPP Groups have been working

hard together. Indeed, following the Parliament vote on the five structural funds Regulations for 2014-2020, Michael Schneider expressed that the EPP Group in the CoR fully supports Parliament’s negotiating team and commits to further cooperation with the European Parliament, Council and Commission in the ongoing negotiations. Read more about the EPP contribution to OPEN DAYS on page 4

"National, local and regional authorities can help boost confidence in the banking sector, under new EU plans for banking supervision" Michel Barnier, EU Commissioner responsible for the Internal Market and Services

EPP Resolution on the Single Market EPP Study Days

10 Upcoming events Thanks to EU

11 Ongoing Opinions Your Agenda

12

EPP Statutory Congress: European People’s Party explicitly highlight the importance of regions in its future Platform Document The EPP supports the contribution of the Committee of the Regions as a political assembly and as an institutional body of the European Union that defends the interests of regions and cities. The Treaty of Lisbon has reinforced the role of the regions and the local authorities in the European Union and strengthened the institutional role of the Committee of the Regions throughout the legislative process. The EPP favours and fosters a strong position of the regions as a key component of the European Union to the vital need for reducing the democratic deficit of the EU. They play important economic, cultural and social roles, sometimes transcending the borders of the respective member states. We see the promotion of the regions and the local authorities and their cooperation in many aspects as an added value in the process of European integration. The EPP Platform is to be adopted at the Statutory Congress in Bucharest on 16-17 October in Bucharest. More details on the Congress on page 7


Message from the President Addressing A sing the t European peann P Parliame Pa Parliamen arliament in Strasbourg, Jose Manuel Bar Barroso, President of the Euroope European Eu pean Commis Commissio missio ssion, on, expressed ex “Europe “Europ rope needs nee a new direction. And, th that direction can not be based onn oold ld ide ide deas. Europe E rope nneeds a new thinking”. He also recognised the importance imp of subsidiarity as ann esse essentia sential democratic cratic concept oncept and our reliance on coh cohesion policy as a policy p for growth saying “Th Thee European Eu budg budget is the instrument rument for investment in Eur Europe andd grow growth in Europe… all proEuropeann forc Eu forces must now stand together ether in support of the right multi-annual m nnu financial framework that will take us to 2020. It is a budget ffor growth, h ffor economic, social and territorial cohesion between Member States and within Member States.” Against the backdrop of the crisis, he also betw sent a message of support for structural reforms in the knowledge that there are no easy answers for recovery. “The Commission will continue to do all it can to support these Member States and to help them boost growth and employment, for instance through the re-programming of structural funds.” I also support his proposal to deepen the pan-European political debate and to encourage a real European debate at the 2012 European elections. Here we have an important role to play. As members belonging to a European political group here at the Committee of the Regions, I encou courage you to debate the future of Europe with the citizens in your cities, regions and communities so that we can truly respond to their demands. On the same day, the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe delivered its verdict on whether the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund and the European fiscal treaty go against the German constitution. The court decided that these schemes are legal and can continue – but only under certain conditions. The top court thus allowed steps towards greater European integration, but has insisted that the German parliament is given a greater say over decisions. I welcome this wise decision in the pro-European spirit of our Constitution and for the good of Europe as a whole. Next week, the EU will also begin its official celebrations to mark 20 years of the single market. Thanks to brave decisions 20 years ago, European citizens have unprecedented opportunities to, live, study, travel and work in the EU country of their choice; they can shop around for the cheapest goods and services and their rights as citizens and consumers are protected by EU laws throughout the Union just as they would be in their home country. We should be proud of these achievements, but also think about how the Single Market can continue to develop over the next 20 years..

Spotlight on the CoR President The best way to involve Europe’s regions in achieving these goals is through territorial pacts and a greater role for the regions in the Member States’ national reform programmes Bilateral meeting between President Valcárcel and José Manuel Barroso, European Commission President, on the sidelines of the Julyy European Council p

©COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION - M@S

It is more and more evident that Europe needs to intervene simultaneously to consolidate its financial accounts and to re-launch the economy and promote inclusive growth The CoR will work closely with the European Parliament so that the new EU budget is credible and closer to citizens, that is to say, a budget which allows the regions and cities in Europe to have sufficient means to stimulate growth and employment, particularly through a strong cohesion policy Meeting with Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, 5 September

2

President Valcárcel and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, unanimous about cohesion policy being instrumental in overcoming the crisis, 11 September The Committee of the Regions is ready to cooperate intensely with the Cyprus Presidency to make sure that the effort to put the Europe 2020 Strategy … bring concrete benefits to our citizens Meeting with Dimitris Christofias, President of the Republic of Cyprus, 7 September 2012


Members on the field CORLEAP held its second annual conference in Moldova on 17th September. Co-Presided by Ramon Luis Valcárcel Siso, EPP members including Marek Wozniak, Roman Linek, Franz Schausberger and Sándor Kovac.took part in the debates Jelena Drenjanin observed local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 3-8 October and Ursula Männle did the same for the local elections in Armenia between 19 and 25 September. On 28 September, Luc Van den Brande presented his views on multilevel governance to a conference on Redesigning Devolution: International Lessons for the UK. He also represented the CoR at a Policy Leaders Forum on New Challenges for Skills Development in the Arab States of the Mediterranean Region in Amman, Jordan in the days before. Markku Markkula spoke at the European Society for Engineering Education’s Annual Conference on 24 September. He addressed participants at the EU-China Mayor’s Forum on experiences in governing sustainable urban development on 19 September and the following day at a joint event of the CoR and the Madariaga Foundation entitled The New Growth Agenda of the EU: Any Role for the European Regions and Cities? The 8th Conference of European Regions and Cities on Overcoming Regional Disparities: Economy meets Politics

took place on 23-24 September in Grafenegg, Lower Austria, under the patronage of Erwin Pröll, Governor of Lower Austria, and with participation from Franz Schausberger. On 22 September, Erwin Mohr delivered a speech at the “Future’s Trail” meeting in Austria. He presented a report on macro regions to the regional chamber of the Congress of Europe during its October session.

Malcolm Mifsud participated at the 18th Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions between 13-15 Sept in the Azores. On July 18th, Juan Vicente Herrera was elected President of the CoR’s Automotive Intergroup, which aims to serve as a platform for dialogue and to promote good practices. His work programme for the next period includes: • 1) Exchange of experiences among the territories at thematic meetings. • 2) Exchange of views with representatives of the automotive industry, regarding community law • 3) Foster contacts among the automotive clusters of the regions to facilitate the submission of joint proposals for European programmes and calls.

OPEN DAYS Local Events Europe in my Region|City September|October|November 2012 Ugo Cappellacci, President of Sardinia Region, “Energy Days”, Cagliari, 28 September 2012 Nikola Dobroslavić, President of Dubrovnik-Nertva, “The value of common cultural heritage in tourism within the Adriatic-Ionian Macro-region”, Dubrovnik, 2012 Malina Edreva, Sofia Municipal Council Education and Culture Committee Chair, “Sofia’s Response to European Challenges”, Sofia, 22 September 2012

Jesús Gamallo Aller, Director-General for International and EU Affairs of Xunta da Galicia, Territorial Cooperation and Smart and Sustainable Growth of Local Economies, Braga, 28 September 2012 Adam Jarubas, Marshal of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, Territorial cooperation – an opportunity for regional development, Kielce, September 2012 Mieczysław Struk, Marshal of Pomorskie Voivodship, Pomorskie Days of Energy 2012, Gdańsk, 25-27 October 2012 Adam Struzik, Marshal of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Territorial cooperation and the EU funds: an asset for Europe and region, Warsaw, 25 October 2012

Plenary Highlights OPEN DAYS 2012 is an opportunity to debate Europe’s growth and jobs strategy and its future budget during the ongoing negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the legislative framework for cohesion policy and the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. Under the headline “Europe’s regions and cities: Making a

difference”, the 105 workshops will be structured around three themes: • Smart and green growth for all; • Territorial cooperation: an asset for Europe; • Delivering results The activity report of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

3


OPEN DAYS seminar: Innovative regions and cities for territorial development 10th European Week of Regions and Cities Brussels 8 - 11 October 2012

10 October 2012, Committee of the Regions, Room JDE52, 14.3017.00. With an ageing population and strong competitive pressures from globalisation, Europe is relying on innovation for future economic growth and jobs. Europe’s regions and cities are increasingly recognised as important players in meeting the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Given that investment in research and development makes regions more attractive and local businesses more competitive, the EPP Group will focus its seminar at OPEN DAYS on how to develop regional innovation strategies based on smart specialisation. This seminar, moderated by Michael Schneider and Markku Markkula, will provide participants with an insight into the existing financial options and an opportunity to share their views on how best to move forward in areas such as open innovation and digital entrepreneurship. Constance Hanniffy will also participate.

Additionally, the following EPP members are set to speak at the following events: 9 October Jesús Gamallo Aller, Director-General for External Relations and the EU, Xunta de Galicia, From Euroregion to EGTC: a long path to territorial cooperation

Mieczyslaw Struk, Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodship, Poland, The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and the role of local and regional authorities Luc Van den Brande, Chairman of the Flemish-European Liaison Agency, RegioStars Awards Herwig Van Staa, President of the Tirol Regional Assembly, Workshop of the EGTC Platform: New Groupings, better performances

10 October

Giovanni Chiodi, President of Abruzzo Region, AdriaticIonian Macroregion: Transnational, cross border and interregional cooperation actions paving the way ahead Vladimir Kissiov, Municipal Councillor of Sofia Municipality, Smart Spending and Financial Integrity at the Regional and Local level Markku Markkula, Member of the Espoo City Council, Presentation of the 3rd CoR Monitoring Report on Europe 2020 and Smart specialisation and entrepreneurial discovery - the role of business community Cristina Mazas Pérez Oleaga, Minister for Economic Affairs, Taxation and Employment of the Autonomous Community of Cantabria, Putting the Atlantic Strategy into Action: which tools? Michael Schneider, State Secretary, Delegate of the State of Saxony-Anhalt for the German Federation, and Ivan Žagar, Mayor of Slovenska Bistrica, Subsidiarity and multilevel governance for the new TEN-T policy 11 October

Luc Van den Brande, Chairman of the Flemish-European Liaison Agency, EU support for decentralised development cooperation post-2013 Marek Wozniak, Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region, Eastern Partnership territorial and parliamentary cooperation: an asset for Europe

4


Towards a Banking Union: Michel Barnier, European Commissioner responsible for internal market and services The European Commission has reacted very quickly to the mandate of the June European Council to propose a new European supervision system for banks, adopting on 12 September a package of proposals to create a Single Supervisory Mechanism for the Eurozone, with the European Central Bank (ECB) at its heart. A stronger European supervisory system is necessary to avoid bank failures and make sure that banks do their main job: helping companies and households to access finance. Moreover, the negative impact of bank failures on some Member State budgets poses a threat to financial stability in the Eurozone. The European Council clearly stated that supervision is a pre-condition for European rescue funds helping to recapitalize banks directly. But a stronger European supervisory system can only work based on strong supervisors in the Member States. National supervisors have an important and long-established expertise in the supervision of credit institutions within their territories and have established a large body of dedicated and highly qualified staff for this purpose. They have the knowledge of local circumstances and the language skills to make sure that supervision is effective. So in the European system, most day-to-day verifications and

supervisory activities necessary to prepare and implement the decisions of the ECB should be exercised by the supervisors in the Member States. At our first discussion on the proposal at the informal meeting of Finance Ministers in Nicosia, many countries from outside the Eurozone expressed concerns. We are now working with the ECB and with countries from outside the Eurozone to make sure that non Euro countries can fully participate in this new supervisory system if they wish to do so. In addition, the Commission has proposed amendments to how the European Banking Authority works for 27 countries, to make sure that the Eurozone countries cannot simply overrule the others in case of conflict between bank supervisors in the single market. Our timetable is ambitious, namely to adopt this legislative package by the end of the year. This is feasible. None of the disagreements or concerns expressed so far is insurmountable in finding a good compromise quickly.

EPP opinions at Plenary Public Procurement Package CdR 99/2012 rév. 2 - ECOS-V-029 Catarina Segersten-Larsson, Member of the Assembly of Värmland County Council

The rapporteur welcomes the proposed steps to achieve a genuine area of freedom, security and justice through budgetary proposals and recognises the importance of providing the necessary resources for the immigration, asylum and security budget. In his view, the proposed changes

will bring a much-needed flexibility and a fairer distribution of resources. He also points out that local and regional authorities can provide vital links for EU cooperation with border countries, making a substantial contribution to improving relations and living conditions in cities and regions of origin and transit. Through its regular cooperation

with local and regional authorities in enlargement and neighbourhood countries, the CoR is well placed to promote the objectives of the funds beyond the EU borders. However he also calls for more transparency in the use of the budget to ensure that results are easily accessible and understandable for citizens. At the end of the opinion, he makes a number of concrete amendments to the regulations for example in the realm of ensuring appropriate training of border control authorities on human rights, with particular focus on the right to asylum. Finally, the Maltese Mayor proposes that the Home Affairs Funds should support actions which recognise the multilevel governance approach.

The activity report of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

5 5


Public Procurement in the EU represents a strategic segment of the single market and also a key element for achieving the objectives of Europe 2020 strategy. This new package of measures should reach an equilibrium between the wish of simplifying procedures and the necessity of providing a fair competition in terms of public contracts and achieving optimal results. Local and regional authorities are among the most important customers in Europe, having an essential role in applying the rules for assigning contracts of public procurement. I consider that these authorities should be taken into consideration more and their opinions should be included in a process of reviewing the EU rules of public procurement, a process that should offer them an increased autonomy. Petru Luhan MEP, EPP Group Rapporteur for the Opinion on the modernisation of public procurement (2011) 

White Paper – An Agenda For Adequate, Safe And Sustainable Pensions CdR 747/2012 rév. 2 - ECOS-V-031 Paul Linquist, Member of Lidingö Municipal Council (Sweden)

Ensuring sustainable and adequate pensions is very important, not just for our growth prospects, but also for public welfare and well-being. Achieving higher employment under the Europe 2020 Strategy will contribute to the overall sustainability of social protection and pension systems. In return, adequate pension benefits are an essential

prerequisite for realising the Europe 2020 Strategy goal of reducing poverty. The rapporteur therefore welcomes the Commission’s intention to address the serious challenges facing many Member States’ pension systems and insists that local and regional authorities should be involved in the consultation process. As the subject matter of the White Paper is clearly an area of shared competence between the EU and Member States, he

underlines that any legislative proposal on pensions will require a very careful analysis of the compliance with the subsidiarity principle. In his view, public pensions, potentially combined with occupational pensions, must be sufficient to allow citizens to maintain an adequate standard of living after retirement. He also focuses extensively on the balance between working life and pensions and gender equality in the system. This is of particular importance for local and regional authorities because women make up a majority of the workforce in many public sector spheres. Given the freedom of movement, the Swedish Councillor proposes therefore the development of a joint internet platform with comprehensive pension information for citizens and employers.

I genuinely believe that EU coordination on pensions is necessary, particularly for the functioning of the internal market, the EU2020 Strategy and the Stability and Growth Pact. Due to demographic trends, the increases in longevity and declining birth rates, we are facing enormous challenges. We should act now by encouraging a longer working life and to ensure that the contribution of supplementary pension schemes to the adequacy of pensions is increased and improved. Pensions need to be safe, adequate and sustainable in all Member States, both now and in the future.” Ria Oomen-Ruijten MEP, Rapporteur for the European Parliament on the Green Paper on pensions

Revised EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region CdR 1272/2012 rév. 1 - COTER-V-028 Pauliina Haijanen, Member of the Executive Board of Laitila City Council (Finland) The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region seeks to improve policy coordination and 6

cohesion between the regions in the area with a view to solving common problems affecting the Baltic Sea region and strengthening the region’s prosperity on a sustainable basis. Hence key to its success are cooperation and coordinated action among the macro-region’s Member States, regions and municipalities, the EU, panBaltic organisations, financing institutions and non-governmental bodies. The


rapporteur welcomes the decision to tie in the objectives - to save the sea, connect the region and increase prosperity - with the Europe 2020 Strategy and encourages parallels to be drawn with the specific flagships and financing opportunities. She also suggests that there is a need to put the multilevel governance principle at

the heart of the implementation of both the strategy and the updated action plan to ensure that the role of municipalities and regions is sufficiently considered. In the Councillor’s view, programming for structural funds for the next period should start take account of the Baltic Sea Strategy and should be available at

the very beginning of 2014 so as to avoid needless delays in ongoing project work. To conclude she welcomes the increase of cooperation between Member States, regions and municipalities in the Region and proposes that the Committee of the Regions continues to actively monitor its implementation.

Thanks to the Baltic Sea Strategy, the countries of this region jointly work to increase prosperity, improve environmental conditions and create powerful bonds. Considering the interests the strategy can generate and the gradual growth it shall operate, it could be used as a reference for a future Black Sea Strategy.

Marian-Jean Marinescu MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in the EP responsible for the Budget and Structural Policies Working Group

Energy Roadmap 2050 CdR 88/2012 rév. 2 – ENVE-V-022 Ugo Cappellacci, President of the Sardinia Region (Italy)

Whilst generally welcoming the European Commission’s proposal, the rapporteur expresses concern that its lack of detail will make it difficult for Member States, regional and local authorities and investors to take decisions. However, he agrees that it is a priority to promote energy saving in order to reduce the demand for energy not only

through awareness-raising, education and changing public habits, but also by backing the development of new technologies that can secure more efficient consumption of resources and greater economic growth, competitiveness and employment. The effort required to transform energy systems and the consequences of doing so will vary depending on each region’s energy profile. As such possible economic, financial and administrative costs of a European energy initiative should be justified on

the basis of a detailed impact assessment that takes adequate account of the specific circumstances at local and regional level. Whilst insisting on the need to involve local and regional authorities more in the regulations, the rapporteur would like to see more cross-border cooperation, solidarity and coordination at the EU level. In the President’s view, Structural Funds should be allocated to support local partnerships aimed at decentralised development of lowcarbon energy-efficient technologies and that local authorities should continue to benefit from simplified access to funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for sustainable energy purposes. Moreover, given the need for research and innovation in this field he calls for Horizon 2020 to be consistent with the energy roadmap 2050.

I believe that the Energy Roadmap 2050 should take a balanced view on the three points of the energy triangle. This means not only promoting a sustainable use of renewable sources of energy but also ensuring security of supply and competitiveness of the EU economy as a whole. The Roadmap represents an orientation for the EU’s energy policy in the coming years. For concrete political decisions to be taken, we need further analysis and elaboration on additional scenarios. I also believe that such a strategic framework has to be technology neutral as it represents a political framework. We should allow all technologies to have the potential to be developed and used on the market according to the adopted political criteria. Decentralisation of the energy sector is a reality and will become even more important in the future. The role of the regions is of a crucial importance in the EU’s energy policy. With our energy-climate policy, we should support investments in research, technological development and innovations and not create new innovative administrative measures and mechanisms. Romana Jordan MEP, Vice-Coordinator in the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) of the European Parliament, Rapporteur for the Energy Roadmap 2050 Opinion

The activity report of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

7


Adaptation to Climate Change and Regional Responses: The Case of Coastal Regions CdR 1751/2012 rév. 1 – ENVE-V-028 Ugo Cappellacci, President of the Sardinia Region (Italy) Following a request from the Cyprus Presidency of the EU the rapporteurgeneral underlines that all local and regional authorities must be proactively involved in climate change adaptation, stressing that between 1998 and

2015 regional authorities will have shouldered the burden of around one third of the cost of protecting Europe’s coasts. Coastal regions are particularly vulnerable to climate change caused by erosion. However, the impact on

Data Protection Package CdR 625/2012 rév. 2 - EDUC-V-022 Ursula Männle, Member of the Bavarian State Assembly (Germany)

Data protection rules are of key importance for economic development, for the smooth operation and efficiency of government activity and for European citizens’ individual liberties. The proposals to reform data protection law are of great importance to the Committee of the Regions because of the pivotal role that local and regional authorities play in implementing the recommendations of

the Digital Agenda for Europe. Within this context, the rapporteur also warns that the regulation will introduce new red tape and costs for municipalities and regions which in the Committee’s view are not offset by the benefits to citizens. She therefore calls for processing by public authorities of personal data and, in the context of employment law, for it to be excluded from the scope of the regulation. The opinion states that it is necessary to rethink the enforcement mechanisms

coasts and regions is varied across Europe. In this regard, Mr Cappellacci calls on the Commission to consult representatives of local and regional authorities beforehand so as to be certain that the proposal for a European adaptation strategy complies with the proportionality principle and includes sufficient emphasis on and detail regarding the local level, particularly regarding more vulnerable regions, such as coastal regions, islands and mountain regions.

and that the following are of key concern to local and regional authorities; measures to raise awareness of data protection issues among all generations and sections of the population; mechanisms for sharing proven and technologically advanced approaches to data protection, for example as part of a seal of quality scheme; standardised, easily comprehensible information and public awareness campaigns using the traffic light principle; binding and regulated certification mechanisms; and mechanisms for self-regulation. To conclude, Ms Männle reserves the right to submit another opinion at a later stage of the legislative process and as soon as the positions of the Council of the European Union and of the European Parliament on the aforementioned issues becomes clear.

The adoption of the Data-Protection-Opinion by the Committee of the Regions is an important step in the process of forming EPP’s Position on the dossier. While governing Europe, we may not forget that, in the end, it is the regions and cities that will implement a big part of the concluded measures in order to improve the data protection for citizens. I support Rapporteur Ursula Männle’s critical assessment as regards the number and scope of foreseen delegated acts and the establishment of new red tape - which we urgently need to cut. Axel Voss MEP, EPP Group data protection expert 

8


Who is who: EPP Commission Presidents for the 2012-2015 mandate Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) In the coming months, we  will  concentrate mostly on the fields of water and waste in view of the upcoming dossiers on Safeguarding Europe’s Water Resources and European Plastic Waste Strategy. We will raise the concerns and share good practices  from our regions and cities on mitigating from and adapting to climate change at the UNFCCC in Doha, Qatar. We will work together in the spirit of solidarity, involving all levels of governance and converting environmental challenges into opportunities for growth, development, jobs creation and competitiveness.  President: P id U Ugo C Cappellacci, ll i President of the Region of Sardinia (Italy)

Territorial Cohesion Policy (COTER) We are now facing the crucial moment for the future of cohesion policy. The Committee of the Regions therefore has to strengthen its political alliances and reinforce its expertise. During this mandate, COTER will establish regular cooperation with the REGI Committee in the European Parliament. We will also try to set up a number of meetings with the Council, both with “Friends of Cohesion” Member States and with the “Better spending” group, in order to explain our positions and look for common positions. I will also propose a series of owninitiative opinions and events. President: P id Marek M k Woźniak, W ź i k Marshal of the Wielkopolska Voivodship (Poland)

Financial and Administrative Affairs (CAFA) In this period of fiscal crisis, and under my chairmanship, CAFA must be especially vigilant when it comes to proposing and putting measures into practise for streamlining costs. We will also work to enhance the political activities of our members and the impact of the CoR’s work at the level of the EU institutions and above all towards our citizens.

President: Michel Lebrun, Member of the Walloon Parliament and the Parliament of the Walloon-Brussels Federation (Belgium)

Culture, Education and Research (EDUC) I see it as a challenge during my presidency of the EDUC Commission to ensure that despite the financial situation, cities and regions in Europe recognise that they must continue to invest in education, research and especially culture. President: Anton Rombouts, Mayor of the City of s’Hertogenbosch (Netherlands)

Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX)

Natural Resources (NAT)

Economic and Social Policy (ECOS)

1st Vice-President: Vladimir Kissiov, Sofia Municipal Councillor (Bulgaria)

1st Vice-President: Emilia Muller, Minister for Federal and European Affairs in the Bavarian State Chancellery (Germany)

2nd Vice-President: Catarina Segersten-Larsson, Kil County Councillor (Sweden)

The activity report of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

9


EPP Statutory Congress, 17-18 October 2012, Bucharest

Hosted by the PDL and the RMDSZ, the 21st EPP Congress will bring efforts to tackle the current challenges which European citizens face to the forefront. The only answer to these challenges is

“More Europe”, as the theme of the 21st Congress indicates. The EPP not only has the ambition and commitment to bring “More Europe” to the citizens, but also the strength to resist the populists and demagogues who want to destroy the European Union. At the Congress and under the Presidency of Wilfried Martens, the EPP will make significant contributions to Europe’s political agenda for the years to come. Over 1200 participants from 40 countries have been invited to participate at the Congress in Bucharest, including EPP’s 16 EU heads of state and government, the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council  José Manuel Barroso  and  Herman Van Rompuy and representatives of the CoR.

Follow the live streaming on 17-18 October at www.epp2012.eu

EPP Resolution on Cohesion and Regional Development Michael Schneider, in his capacity as President of the EPP Group, was invited by the EPP to present his views on cohesion policy and regional development in the preparation of this resolution. The EPP Group also actively participated in the form of amendments and the resulting text is to be welcomed by the Group.

The EU Cohesion Policy is an investment and development policy, which enables growth and improvements in competitiveness and, therefore, lays the foundation for the narrowing of economic, social and regional disparities in Europe. Capacity building should remain a main objective in the use of EU structural funds. The EU will only be

able to be competitive in the face of increasing global competition, and to overcome the current crisis, if the development potential of all regions, urban areas and cities can be exploited, allowing for a flexible regional response to the challenges and bottlenecks identified by the EU 2020 Strategy.

EPP Resolution on the Single Market This resolution was drawn up during the EPP Working Group for Economic and Social Policy and was supported by Constance Hanniff y, on behalf of the EPP Group in the CoR. In addition to praising much of the text, Ms Hanniff y also tabled a number of amendments to enhance the support for SMEs and the final text reflects these amendments well. Ensuring the free circulation of persons, capital, products and services across

Europe is the most important reform to stimulate economic growth without further aggravating debt burdens…Rules should be simplified and SMEs should be given real opportunities to grow by commercialising their products and services freely across the Union’s Single Market. More transparency and administrative simplification, also in relation to the freedom of establishment, is important as this offers new opportunities for SMEs. We must act decisively to improve investment opportunities for innovative

start-ups, fast-growing companies and small businesses. We must ensure that SME’s can operate all over Europe by granting them access via mutual recognition, reduction of red tape and establishing a ‘one-stop-shop’ for VAT, as well as improving access to finance for SMEs. Especially in the interest of SMEs, we must also ensure that a level playing field is created with regards to the efficient implementation of EU laws in all Member States.

EPP Study Days Michael Schneider and Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso will participate in the EPP Study Days on 18 October through interventions on Regional development and Social Cohesion increasing the impact of EU development policy for the well10

being of citizens. During their interventions, the two CoR representatives will promote a strong regional policy post 2013 with the aim of enhancing jobs and growth and in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy.


Upcoming events EPP external Seminar, 9 November integration of migrants, culture and recreation. Major cities hold a key role in enhancing 2012, Sofia The majority of people in the EU live in urban areas. This causes a challenge for local and regional authorities in terms of public services, economic investment, infrastructure, transport, CO2 reduction, energy questions, housing, education and training, social policy,

EPP/CoR's 5thStudy Visit 28-30 November 2012

www.epp.cor.europa.eu

competitiveness, through the promotion of economic growth and development. This EPP Group Seminar will focus on how to make better use of EU financial instruments to support and develop less developed cities and regions. To conclude the seminar, a political document will be adopted.

EPP Study Visit for Masters Students, 28-30 November, Brussels The EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions will once again invite Masters Students in European Studies, Political Science and International Relations to participate in the EPP Group meeting and the CoR Plenary Session on 2830 November 2012. The study visit will be an opportunity for students to meet with high-level EU representatives for key debates on topical European issues including the citizens’ initiative and citizenship in a globalised world. Throughout the visit the students will have access to quality information about the European integration process and above all about the activities and objectives of the CoR. Interested students are invited to return the application form by 26 October 2012

Thanks to EU Polish regions share their experience on effective use of EU funds

To achieve success you need to work together and promote good practices of cooperation between local economy and science, as wise decisions taken on the basis of knowledge and understanding of economic realities are the pillars of regional development. Jozef Sebesta, Marshal of Opolskie Voivodship The “YES - Young Entrepreneurship Strategies”, Interreg IVC project is an example of a forward looking project that the Opolskie region is embracing is its role as partner. The overall objective is to increase the number of entrepreneurs and accelerate European competitiveness, in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. The By integrating an entrepreneurial perspective into the education system, the region has been successful in identifying and exchanging best practice and performing a joint interregional

analysis where similarities, differences, strengths and weaknesses were identified. The analysis was transformed into Action plans with policy recommendations. The final step, the Best Practice Guide, was a result of the interregional mapping together with experience from the regional mapping and analysis. Project period: 2010-2012 Total budget: € 1,5 million www.young-entrepreneurs.eu/index.php

Children and young people are the future of the region. Investing in them allows to passion to develop and supports students’ innate abilities thus contributing to their intellectual development. Therefore, it is necessary to enrich the scope of activities of primary and secondary schools, make them more attractive and improve the quality of education. The effects of these activities will pay off in the long term by supplying the region with educated and competent employees. This will not only benefit the economic development of Lodz region, but also increase its competitiveness in the country and the EU. Witold Stepien, Marshal of the Lodz region According to recently published data, Lodz Region is a leader in the implementation of projects under the Operational Programme Human Capital in Poland, and the number of signed contracts for co-financing projects facilitating access to education has already exceeded 1000. The activity report of the EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions

11


Ongoing Opinions Comission

Opinion

Rapporteur

Expected Adoption

CIVEX

EU strategy for the eradication of trafficking in human beings

Jelena Drenjanin (Huddinge, Sweden)

January 2013

CIVEX

Strengthening EU citizenship through promotion of electoral rights

Gyorgi Gemesi (Gödöllo, Hungary)

January 2013

CIVEX

Devolution in the EU

Franz Schausberger (Salzburg, Austria)

April 2013

COTER

Future EU strategy for Outermost Regions in light of Europe 2020

Malcom Mifsud (Pieta, Malta)

November 2012

COTER

Rev. Common Strategic Framework

Marek Wozniak (Wielkopolska, Poland)

November 2012

ECOS

Outlook opinion on promoting growth and strengthening job creation

Maria Luisa Coppola (Veneto, Italy)

January 2013

ECOS

Better governance for the Single Market

Markku Markkula (Espoo, Finland)

January 2013

EDUC

European Research Area

Grigorios Zafeiropoulos (Attica, Greece)

February 2013

ENVE

Renewable energy policy

Witold Stępień (Lodzkie, Poland)

February 2013

ENVE

industrial policy for the space industry

Gianfranco Vitagliano (Molise, Italy)

February 2013

Your Agenda 16-18 October

EPP Statutory Congress

Bucharest, Romania

22 October

JCC FYROM

Brussels

24 October

COTER seminar

Valencia

25 October

WG Turkey

Brussels

6 November

NAT external seminar

Ponzano Veneto

9 November

EPP external seminar

Sofia, Bulgaria

12 November

CAFA

Brussels

14 November

JCC Montenegro

Brussels

15 November

WG Western Balkans

Brussels

19 November

ARLEM / ECOTER

Piran, Slovenia

22 November

EDUC

Brussels

21 November

CIVEX Study Visit

Turku, Finland

29-30 November

Plenary Session

Brussels

Secretary General: Heinz-Peter Knapp Press Officer: Katie Owens, kathryn.owens@cor.europa.eu, +32 2 282 2400 This issue is also available at www.epp.cor.europa.eu

Follow us on facebook


October rEPPorter