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Action at local level will ensure the success of the EU missions and the New European Bauhaus initiative  

Adapting to climate change, protecting water, greening cities, ensuring healthy food and fighting cancer are some of today's major challenges that EU missions, launched by the European Commission, seek to address. Markku Markkula (FI/EPP), rapporteur for the European Committee of the Regions' opinion on the subject and member of Espoo City Council, stresses that missions need to be underpinned by an effective multilevel governance system linking them to local and regional development strategies, COVID-19 recovery measures and innovation funding through the Structural Funds.

The five EU missions are based on Horizon Europe , but will go far beyond research and innovation in support of the EU's ambitions to promote the green and digital transitions. The French Presidency of the Council of the EU has asked the European Committee of the Regions to draw up an opinion on how best to organise the management of missions at local and regional level. The draft opinion prepared by Mr Markkula was adopted at the meeting of the European Committee of the Regions' SEDEC commission on 15 February.

"EU missions should be implemented through an open and participatory process, involving all relevant stakeholders at local, regional, European and global levels. Citizens' engagement in particular will be crucial for the missions' success. It is time for new technological solutions and societal innovations. Reaching the targets is possible only with extensive foresight activities, increased R&D investments, real-world prototyping, experimentation and scaling-up of results," Mr Markkula said.

As all five missions have a clear common priority – making the future sustainable and smart – the opinion underlines the importance of cross-mission cooperation at all levels of governance. Each EU mission should define a clear roadmap and create a systemic new multi-governance approach and methodologies on experimenting, prototyping, monitoring, and scaling-up activities at all governance levels.

The rapporteur also underlines the importance of developing regional capacity to apply for EU mission funding. This will enhance the absorption capacity of cities and regions and strengthen citizen inclusion across the EU, multiplying the impact of EU initiatives and ensuring a broader and fairer distribution of resources. In order to achieve these objectives, attention must be paid to closing the knowledge and innovation gap within Europe and the innovation gap between Europe and the United States.

At the meeting held on 15 February, SEDEC members also adopted Kieran McCarthy's (IE/EA) draft opinion on the New European Bauhaus initiative. It underlines that harnessing the creative potential at local level is crucial to create inclusive and sustainable solutions that will make the Green Deal a success. Therefore, the rapporteur called the Commission to clarify how it plans to ensure local and regional authorities' engagement, what financial resources could support the initiative and how it will measure the success.

"The New European Bauhaus must become a real movement which involves cities and regions and is not just another top-down project. It must be a project for everyone, not just the few. To be successful, this exercise must be socially, culturally and territorially inclusive", Cork City Councillor McCarthy pointed out.

MEP Marcus Ros Sempere (ES/PES), Founder of the European Parliament's New European Bauhaus Friendship Group , shared these concerns and expressed his wish that the New European Bauhaus should be transformed from a movement to an EU programme with a budget of its own.

Both opinions (EU Missions and New European Bauhaus) are due to be adopted at the European Committee of the Regions' plenary session on 27-28 April.

Lauri Ouvinen
Tel. +32 473536887

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