Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso (EPP/ES), who was elected President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) at the plenary session held last 18 July, started his two-and-a-half-year mandate on Monday 13 August.
Valcárcel is the President of Murcia Region and the first president of a Spanish region to be elected as the head of the Committee of the Regions. He takes over office from Mercedes Bresso, who was elected as CoR First Vice-President.
As new CoR President, Valcárcel will also co-chair the Euro-Mediterranean Local and Regional Assembly (ARLEM) and the equivalent assembly within the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP).
The President’s schedule, in these first weeks, is focused on the consolidation of inter-institutional relations. An initial meeting with the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, took place on 23 July. In the coming weeks, Valcárcel is set to encounter with the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, while an external meeting of the CoR bureau in Nicosia, where President Valcárcel will meet President Christofias, will provide the opportunity of kicking off the cooperation with the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The common work carried out in the last months by the CoR and the European Parliament (EP) is also given top priority and will be dealt with in the meeting scheduled with the EP President, Martin Schulz. The aim is to intensify the support provided to the EP, i.e. to the REGI and BUDG Committees, as regards on-going negotiations of crucial dossiers such as the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, the new phase of the structural funds and the European Territorial Cooperation policy.
During his term, Valcárcel said, the CoR will work together with the Council, the Parliament and the Commission “to making the EU's plan for economic growth, Europe 2020, a real added value by bridging the gap between the different levels of government; the main goal remains increasing the capacity of local and regional authorities to drive growth, and create jobs contributing to the deepening of the economic union”.