Secretary General gave a keynote speech at a high level workshop on European Policy Orientations on Territorial Development organised by ESPON (European Territorial Observatory Network), a network co-financed by the European Regional and Development Fund that aims at promoting and fostering a European territorial dimension in development and cooperation by providing evidence, knowledge transfer and policy learning to public authorities and other policy actors at all levels.
Under the headline "EU level policy agenda on the development of regions and cities", Mr Burianek stressed that speaking about the future of Cohesion Policy means speaking about the future of the European Union itself since EU cohesion policy is the expression of solidarity between Member States. All Cohesion Policy supporters will have to join forces to advocate for the cohesion policy budget to remain a substantial part of the next EU budget. Formulation and roll-out of Cohesion Policy beyond 2020 will key issues for European cities and regions this year and the years to come. The first milestone of the CoR on this topic will be the own-initiative opinion on the future of Cohesion Policy beyond 2020 to be adopted during the CoR Plenary in May.
Mr Burianek also stressed his wish to continue the strategic co-operation with ESPON in order to be able to keep on relying on the territorial evidence provided by ESPON. In this respect, he welcomes very much ESPON's initiative to put the formulation of EU Territorial Agenda post 2020 as a key policy process for 2018 as asked by the CoR in its opinion on the Territorial Vision 2050: What future? He reiterated that measuring the territorial impact of the proposals of the Commission as it is done by ESPON is a powerful tool to feed into the EU policy making. The CoR is the best placed player in the institutional arena to promote the use of the existing tools for territorial impact assessment and stimulate the further development of the methodologies. In this context he suggested ideas on how to improve the Territorial Impact Assessment Quick Scan tool developed by the ESPON team.