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Lebrun and Hahn discuss territorial dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy
​President Lebrun and
Commissioner Hahn
Today Michel Lebrun, President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), met Johannes Hahn in his new role as Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Enlargement Negotiations. During the meeting President Lebrun presented the CoRs' ideas on how to increase the commitment and ability of local and regional authorities to serve the goals of the ENP.
"The ENP will only be successful by taking the territorial dimension into consideration. We need the firm commitment of all stakeholders to strengthen democracy at all levels of governance and to implement on the ground those tools for territorial cooperation which are fundamental for achieving the goals of economic, social and territorial development.” explained President Lebrun.
He further confirmed the CoRs' involvement in the ENP through its two joint assemblies - ARLEM for the Mediterranean (which holds its next plenary session in Turkey on 15 December) and CORLEAP for the Eastern Countries – both of which bring together local and regional representatives from the EU and the ENP countries. “These innovative platforms offer the chance for regional or local authorities from the ENP countries to familiarise themselves with instruments for territorial cooperation such as the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation, cross border cooperation and macro-regional strategies, enabling a more focused, tailored and coordinated regional cooperation within the framework of the ENP” stated President Michel Lebrun.
During the meeting President Lebrun called on the European Commission to consider the possibility of extending the Local Administration Facility (LAF) programme to those Eastern partnership countries that have signed an Association Agreement with the EU in order to offer instruments of capacity building which are fundamental to assure the independence of public service, transparency, rule of law.
"There is need to further push reform to enable decentralisation and fight corruption. ARLEM and CORLEAP are continuously reviewing the political, administrative and fiscal decentralisation process in the partner countries. This information must be used as a potential benchmark to further develop the existing 'more for more' principle', which states that the faster a country progresses in its internal reforms, the more support it will receive from the EU", Michel Lebrun stated. An example of this is Ukraine where the CoR and Kiev are going to work on the decentralisation process through a specific Task Force devoted to the Ukrainian reform.
President Lebrun also assured Commissioner Hahn that the CoR is willing to actively take part to the ongoing process of assessment and reform of the ENP in 2015.
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