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President Markkula and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte: only through committed partnerships can the EU deliver on its targets
​President Markkula and PM Rutte

The President of the European Committee of the Regions, Markku Markkula, and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, have stressed the importance of European partnerships in delivering on the common priorities of the EU’s assembly of regions and cities and the Dutch Presidency of the EU as well as in answering current challenges.

"Europe needs a fresh start for its economy and it is clear that cities and regions are key drivers for new growth and jobs. To boost this we must have result-orientated investments on the ground as well as simpler and more accessible legislation and funding." President Markkula stated after the meeting on 24 November. He continued: "The EU cannot fulfil its promises on growth or tackling the refugee crisis without committed partnerships between all actors from Brussels to our cities and municipalities. We are delighted to work so closely with the Dutch Presidency to tackle these priority questions on the ground."
 
Prime Minister Rutte underlined that "President Markkula and I spoke about a range of topics, including the role of the Committee of Regions and the Dutch priorities for the upcoming EU Presidency. The Netherlands aims to foster a Europe that promotes innovative growth and creates jobs and that respects its member states’ space and concentrates on tackling common problems. It is clear that migration and terrorism will be top priorities."
 
The key areas for joint action between the Dutch Presidency and the work of the Committee of the Regions focus on three topics: on boosting investments through strengthened entrepreneurial spirit and capacity-building in cities and regions; on clarifying and launching a joint EU strategy for urban areas; and on simplifying EU legislation, especially cutting administrative costs and red tape. Innovation throughout policy fields is central for job creation. The good practices developed by Dutch central and local governments in using the opportunities offered by the EU investment plan and promoting entrepreneurial development as well as cross-border economic cooperation set a valuable example for the whole Union.
 
The meeting was also attended by Cor Lamers, Mayor of Schiedam, and Wim Van de Donk, King's Commissioner of the Province of Noord-Brabant, both of whom are Members of the European Committee of the Regions. The Committee of the Regions will also organise a Forum in Amsterdam on 30-31 May 2016 alongside an EU ministerial meeting.
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