What is the role of regions in the future of the European project?
The future of Europe depends on the involvement of regions because we connect the European project more closely to its citizens. It is important that regions have a greater role in building a better future for Europe, not only when it comes to making EU policies work, but also in helping to define those policies so they support growth and prosperity.
The CPMR is an organisation that represents around 160 regions and 200 million people across Europe, and we think it is crucial that the voice of local and regional authorities is heard in discussions at EU-level on Europe’s future.
What is the added value of a network such as the CRPM for European debates?
The CPMR can bring the perspective and opinions of the regions to the attention of the European institutions, such as the European Commission. It’s not only a question of the CPMR being a lobby group, or relaying the positions of regional and local authorities, it’s also a think-tank that thinks about the challenges facing not only regions but also the challenges facing the European Union as a whole.
We are committed to the European project and we want it to succeed. Regions bring added value because they have a much closer perspective on what is important for citizens.
Let me put it this way, there are two steps for the future of Europe, beginning with the process. I think it’s important for the European Commission to take a stand on this issue and not only provide scenarios, but lay out a plan showing this is where we want to go and this is what we think should be done.
Secondly, I think it’s important for the Commission to have a very clear and firm understanding about what it considers to be the best policies for the European project
This brings us to the discussion about the EU Cohesion policy and the fact it is vital for the Commission to recognise the policy’s importance and to proactively convince others of its importance. I think there is a lot of work to do in the coming months to strengthen this policy, which is a crucial investment policy for regions.
This is why the CPMR is a member of the EU-wide Cohesion Alliance, a coalition of those who believe that Cohesion policy must continue to be a pillar of the EU’s future, so it can make a difference to the lives of citizens across Europe. This discussion is not only about resources, it’s not only about financing, it’s not only about money, it’s about the European dream itself.
Why is Cohesion policy important for regions?
Cohesion policy is one of the policies that matters most because it ensures that Europe works for the average citizen. A new school in your local area, or a new research or health facility, has been made possible because Europe has a policy that recognises regional and territorial cohesion must be achieved. That’s why the cohesion policy is so important.