Cohesion policy – the EU's main investment and solidarity tool - has reduced disparities, spread innovation and brought sustainable growth. It must continue to be a pillar of the EU in the future and not be undermined by the financial impact of Brexit or the need to fund new tasks. This message was delivered by EU, national local and civil society leaders who gathered in Brussels to launch the #CohesionAlliance during the opening of the European Week of Regions and Cities.
Shortly after the release of the European Commission's cohesion report, showing that the EU's cohesion policy was effective in softening the blow of the economic crisis, hundreds of local, regional politicians met with national and EU leaders, to discuss the future of Europe's main investment tool worth more than €630bn between 2014 and 2020.
With the European Commission's proposal for the EU budget after 2020 expected to be published in May 2018, the #CohesionAlliance is looking ahead to the future investment strategy for Europe.
The coalition goals were set out by the European Committee of the Regions President, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, and the representatives of leading associations of EU cities and regions, including, the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), the Assembly of European Regions (AER), the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) and EUROCITIES, in the presence of the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu.
President Lambertz, said, " Europe must deliver on the issues that matter most to citizens and so the future EU budget must be a people's budget fit for the challenges of the 21st century. The #CohesionAlliance reflects a simple belief that by investing in our communities, tackling regional disparities and supporting social integration, cohesion policy is the ultimate sign of European solidarity. Ambition must now be matched by a flexible ambitious EU budget with a strong cohesion policy for every region and city. "
" Cohesion policy is first and foremost about people, about improving people's life. I am therefore happy to see the cohesion alliance set sail with the aim to bring together cities and regions, as well as representatives of Europe's SMEs, hospitals, schools, and civil society at large. More than ever, Europe and its 500 Million inhabitants need a strong cohesion policy" , said Commissioner Creţu.
Increasing numbers of mayors, presidents of regions and local leaders from across Europe, together with Members of the European Parliament and civil society and business associations representatives, are signing up to the #CohesionAlliance declaration.
High-level political debates and more than 130 workshops and side events will be held during the European Week of Regions and Cities to elaborate on how to improve and make the EU's cohesion policy more visible.
In the eight months ahead of the release of the Commission's proposal for the next financial period, alliance supporters will raise awareness about how EU cohesion policy improves the lives of citizens across Europe.
More information about the #CohesionAlliance initiatives, statements and position papers are available at http://cohesionalliance.eu.
Note for editors
European Week of Regions and Cities
The 15th European Week of Regions and Cities will gather around 5700 local administrators, EU fund managers, regional policy experts and practitioners in Brussels from 9 to 12 October. High-level political debates and more than 130 workshops will exchange views and experiences on three principal themes: Building resilient regions and cities – #LocalResilience; Regions and cities as change agents – #TakeAction; Sharing knowledge to deliver results – #SharingKnowledge. Journalists are offered a dedicated media programme.
7th Cohesion Report
Every three years, the EU takes the pulse of its regions and analyses the current state of economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU. The results, compiled in the Cohesion report, gives us more than a snapshot of our Union; zooming in on regions, it helps us assess if regions have grown closer or apart in the recent years; who is leading and who needs to catch up in terms of innovation, employment or institutional capacity; who is ready to take up the big challenges of the coming years – harnessing globalisation, adapting to climate change and migration – and who needs further support.
Future of cohesion policy
Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions on the future of EU cohesion policy
CoR studies on the future of Cohesion Policy
Evaluations of the 2007-2013 programming period
EU Cohesion policy open data portal
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