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Economic recovery requires "unprecedented cooperation", President Tzitzikostas says  

​​​​In meetings with the mayor of Rome, regional presidents and city councillors, President Tzitzikostas underscores Italy's role in leading the economic recovery

​​​"The unprecedented volume of investments that is about to be allocated requires unprecedented cooperation between Brussels, Rome and the regions," President Apostolos Tzitzikostas told Italian regional and local leaders during a visit to Rome on 9 December in which he also underlined the particular importance that Italy will play in the European Union's economic recovery from the pandemic.

The need for a culture of greater cooperation between governments at all levels – national, regional, local and European – was a theme that ran throughout meetings that spanned the CoR's three political priorities: bringing Europe closer to people, building resilient communities, and putting the EU at the service of its people and their places of living.

"The pandemic has strongly affected Italy, and its response is now considered a model for other countries. The impressive reform plan and the huge investments in the pipeline make this country a unique laboratory for European recovery policies," President Tzitzikostas (EL/EPP) told presidents of the Italian regions during a specially convened meeting of the Conference of the Regions. President Tzitzikostas is also Governor of Central Macedonia.

President Tzitzikostas told Roberto Gualtieri, mayor of Rome since 21 October, whom he praised for his role – in a previous position as national minister of the economy – in shaping the European recovery plan and Italy's reforms.

Across the EU, however, the development of national plans within the EU's economic recovery package has revealed weaknesses in collaboration between the levels of government. "The involvement of regions and cities in drafting plans has been inadequate in almost all member countries," President Tzitzikostas told Mayor Gualtieri. "Now that investments need to be made in the field, collaboration between central, regional and local governments is intensifying," President Tzitzikostas noted, but he warned of the continuing danger that "overly centralised management risks damaging the impact and coordination with other funds, such as those of cohesion policy".

Mayor Gualtieri and President Tzitzikostas both participated in a seminar on the subject of international cooperation between cities and regions organised in Rome's city hall, in Campidoglio, by the CoR and by the president of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), Vincenzo Bianco . One of the objectives was to bring attention to the Nicosia Initiative created by the CoR, which since 2016 has been promoting cooperation between European and Libyan cities. "We can be proud of the results achieved, because, in addition to having created new partnerships to improve public administrations and services to citizens in Libya, we have also helped our fellow Libyan mayors to create a new positive dynamic of internal dialogue," President Tzitzikostas said.

During his meetings, President Tzitzikostas also highlighted the CoR's central ambition for the Conference on the Future of Europe, expressing the hope that the nine-month consultation on some of the most substantive policy issues facing Europeans will "bring the European decision-making process closer to citizens and to the places where they live". The CoR has 18 representatives in the Conference and it is co-organising numerous events across the EU, including citizens' panels.​

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