Over 40% of EU sub-national governments saw investment in infrastructure fall since 2010, with a drop of more than 10% in 38% of regions, according to a Europe-wide survey carried out by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The survey targeted almost 300 representatives from 255 regions, cities, counties and municipalities in EU member states. The results were debated by EU local leaders with the OECD Deputy Secretary General, Mari Kiviniemi, during a meeting with the CoR's Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) in Brussels on 11 December.
"This first joint survey reveals governance problems are as relevant as gaps in financing. The fall in investment is due to a fall in public funding. It is also the result of a lack of coordination among national, regional and local governments in planning and funding infrastructure projects which is holding up delivery by private contractors. We need to significantly improve collaboration among governments, the private sector and universities to deliver results and stir innovation in the sector," said the President of the EU local leaders' assembly, Markku Markkula.
Innovative approaches and good practices were also collected through the consultation. "The survey shows that many sub-national governments in Europe are improving the governance of infrastructure investment," said Ms Kaviniemi, who added that: "The London Infrastructure Plan 2050, for example, or the revitalisation of the city centre of Łódź, in Poland, with more than 100 public and private partners, were among the most inspiring experiences. The CoR and the OECD can play a key role in supporting the learning from good practices in this field."
"Local and regional authorities are responsible for 55% of total public investment" pointed out COTER chair, Raffaele Cattaneo, (IT/EPP), stressing that: "We are fully committed to improving medium-term planning for infrastructure and to better cooperating with neighbouring administrations. Local and national solutions should complement each other otherwise overlaps and bureaucratic hurdles risk discouraging private investors and slowing-down implementation."