The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) brings together democratically elected representatives from the levels of government closest to the citizens: regional presidents, city mayors and local councillors. This proximity to local experiences and concerns gives the CoR a unique position on the EU landscape, which is portrayed in the political priorities for 2015-2020. These priorities were agreed unanimously in the June 2015 Plenary for the first time for the entire five year mandate.
1. A fresh start for the European economy
To achieve its goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the EU needs to involve local and regional authorities more deeply. Smart investment should be based on local needs, draw on best practice at the grass roots level and encourage a new entrepreneurial spirit across Europe. The EU efforts to boost growth should consider the opportunities offered by new digital technologies.
2. The territorial dimension of EU legislation matters
Bearing that in mind, the CoR will help to narrow the knowledge gap between regions and cities as a means of reducing the urban/rural divide. It will also assess what impact EU legislation has on the ground – including the impact on cities – and encourage cross-border cooperation through the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC). Cohesion policy is one of the main tools that the EU has, and effective use of that policy is a central concern of the CoR.
3. A simpler, more connected Europe
The CoR will promote the role of local government in European policy making, help the EU make the business environment friendlier and explain the benefits of the Union at the local level.
4. Stability and cooperation within and outside of the European Union
In order to contribute to a more stable international and regional environment, the CoR will help develop economic and political ties with the six Eastern European and South Caucasus countries in the EU Eastern Partnership and explore what can be done at the local level to promote cooperation with countries around the Mediterranean. It will also help would-be members of the EU to prepare for membership.
5. Europe of the citizens is Europe of the future
A fuller, richer dialogue is needed between the EU institutions, its citizens and local and regional authorities. The CoR will demonstrate how the EU can improve the lives of individuals and their communities.