Statement of the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, on the measures proposed by the European Commission on 02/04/2020
"Today the European Commission presented a set of measures that respond to the recent calls of the European Committee of the Regions and of many local and regional authorities, asking to better support their efforts to tackle the social, economic and health consequences of the crisis.
The SURE scheme foresees concrete measures to make sure workers continue to receive their salary and to help companies retaining jobs. I hope it will help local communities across Europe mitigate the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also crucial that the new scheme will be able to provide relief to families and entrepreneurs in our regions and cities and to preserve the productive capacity of our regional economies. Our Committee stands ready to contribute to a quick adoption of the scheme, and will guarantee a reality check on the ground, to assess how these measures will respond to the daily needs of our local communities.
I welcome the European Commission's proposal to use the EU budget margins to invest additional 3bn in the health care sector via the Emergency Support Instrument. This responds to the CoR appeal for an EU Health Emergency Mechanism financed via the unspent money in the EU budget, as detailed in the CoR Action Plan on Coronavirus. These funds will allow our regions and cities to purchase vital supplies and medical equipment, and to better support the work of medical, social and emergency staff who are at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic.
The Commission today proposed also provisions to further increase flexibility in the use of cohesion and agriculture funds, and speed up their intervention to support emergency measures and economic recovery. As regional and local leaders, we support back the Commission's efforts allowing for a quick reprogramming of the investment planned before the crisis. At the same time, I call the European Commission to guarantee that regions remain key actors in planning and implementing the measures. Cohesion and rural development offer a unique working method bringing together EU, national and regional/local actors. Only by making full use of the direct experience of regional and local leaders, EU investment can be used to respond to the needs of our people and businesses."
CoR Action Plan to help regions and cities fight the COVID-19 in the European Union
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