Valcárcel Siso/Van Rompuy
In view of the European Council of 7-8 February, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) announced its support of the youth employment initiative proposed yesterday by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. However, the CoR highlights that cities and regions must be fully engaged in delivering any employment initiative given that they are best placed to assess local employment markets and tailor programmes for young people.
In this perspective the CoR President, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, shared the urgency to tackle the problem of the youth unemployment and welcomed that the initiative targeted the most afflicted regions. However President Valcárcel noted that, "What remains unclear is how to adequately address these priorities while Member States, for the first time ever, are discussing a Multiannual Financial Framework which is lower than the previous one".
Referring to the moderation of the EU budget, the Committee of the Regions stressed that a cut of €1 in the EU budget corresponds on average to a loss of more than €2 of additional funding which would have been gained by leverage. For this reason, the call for austerity has a rather limited justification when it refers to a budget such as the EU's budget, in which 94% of resources are invested for supporting growth and employment. The Committee argues that it is time to give EU citizens an accurate explanation of why the EU budget is a tangible asset for the whole community.
With regards to cohesion policy, according to the CoR, in times of fiscal consolidation regional policy is the most important driver for leveraging private and public investments for local, regional and national levels. It argues that cohesion policy should therefore clearly remain a key investment tool for the benefit of European citizens and to ensure that European funding secures tangible results on the ground.
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