Commissioner Oettinger to defend EU budget proposal at European Committee of the Regions  
Commissioner Oettinger to defend EU budget proposal at European Committee of the Regions

On 16-17 May members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will voice their concerns about the European Commission's far-reaching proposals to direct EU funding away from regional development after 2020, and will adopt a position on the UK's withdrawal from the EU after a year of consultations, surveys and studies with local and regional authorities. The CoR's members will also consider ways in which cultural policies can contribute to reinforcing European identity.

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EU long-term budget: what impact for regions and cities? (16 May)

Günther Oettinger , the European Commissioner for Budget & Human Resources, will debate the EU long-term budget proposals for 2021-2027 published on 2 May and its potential implications for regions and cities. Included in the proposals are cuts to the EU's cohesion policy, which will have consequences for future EU funding regions and cities, an issue already raised by the Committee . The debate is expected to focus on proposed cuts to regional development funding – through cohesion policy – but it is also likely to address reductions in funding for farmers and linkages with rule of law and national economic policies.

A press conference withEU Commissioner Oettinger and theCoR's President Lambertz will be held at 4:30pm in the listening room of the European Commission's Charlemagne building, Brussels.

Brexit resolution (17 May)

The CoR will adopt a resolution on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union that will consider the impact on local and regional authorities, measures needed to minimise the effects of Brexit, and the future relationship between the UK and the EU. The resolution will stress the importance for local and regional authorities of avoiding a hard border in Ireland and will, for example, consider the role of state aid, cohesion policy, and the common agricultural policy. Consideration will also be given to cooperation through mechanisms such as macro-regional strategies and European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC), as well as to cooperation in education, culture, research, innovation, and security, border and migration management.

The resolution develops an earlier position adopted by the CoR in March 2017 , after a speech by and debate with the EU's chief negotiator, European Commissioner Michel Barnier . Over the past 14 months, the CoR has conducted a range of surveys of its members, local and regional authorities and local chambers of commerce, as well as commissioning a study of the implications of Brexit for regional economies. On 22-23 May, the presidents of the CoR's political groups will travel to the Republic of Ireland, for talks with the joint committee on European Union affairs of the Houses of the Oireachtas, and to Northern Ireland, to meet the local government association.

Culture and European identity (17 May)

How cultural policies can strengthen European identity will be the focus of a debate with Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Luca Jahier, the newly elected President of the European Economic and Social Committee, and Petra Kammerevert (DE/S&D), Chairperson of the European Parliament's Culture and Education Committee .

On the same day, the CoR will set out its position on how to strengthen European identity through education and culture, by debating an opinion drawn up by Tanya Hristova (BG/EPP), Mayor of Gabrovo and head of the CoR's Bulgarian delegation. The CoR will also consider "cultural heritage as a strategic resource for more cohesive and sustainable regions in the EU", based on recommendations by Babette Winter (DE/PES), State Secretary for Europe and Culture from the Land of Thuringia. 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Gas pipelines entering the EU internal market (16 May)

CoR members will vote on an opinion prepared by Mauro D'Attis (IT/EPP), Member of Roccafiorita Municipal Council (Messina) and newly elected member of the Italian Parliament, reacting to the European Commission's proposal to extend common EU gas rules to import pipelines. The aim is that all gas pipelines arriving in the EU from third countries fully comply with existing EU rules, including transparency requirements, fair tariffs and a proper separation of the supply chain from production to distribution. CoR rapporteur D'Attis will advocate the essential need for the EU to safeguard its own imports, whilst avoiding situations of excessive dependence, abuse by suppliers and risk for local communities.

Other opinions to be adopted:

Plans for one specific EU fund after 2020, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund . Rapporteur: Alberto Nuñez Feijoo (ES/EPP), president of the Galicia region

Practical information:

Where : Charlemagne building – Hemicycle, European Commission

When : 16 May, 3pm-9pm – 17 May, 9am-1pm

Contact: PresseCdr@cor.europa.eu