The European Committee of the Regions will welcome the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, as well as the European Commission's Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen. During the first day of its plenary session (11 May), the Committee is also set to be the first EU institution to adopt a formal position on the EU's Cohesion Policy after 2020. Discussions on the future of EU investment in regions and cities will continue on the second day (12 May) as they are joined by EU Budget Commissioner Oettinger.
Reflecting on Europe's future and rebuilding trust
The EU is at a critical juncture confronted by unprecedented challenges and faced with rising levels of public distrust. As the two EU institutions with a direct link to the citizens, the European Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament have a pivotal role in restoring citizens' trust and help build a consensus about Europe's future.
As part of the ongoing reflection on the past, present and future of Europe, the Committee – the EU's political assembly of local and regional governments - has launched an initiative called " Reflecting on Europe ", which includes member-led citizens' dialogues and town hall debates, as well as political debates in regional parliaments and local councils. The aim is to give citizens a space to express their concerns and expectations from Europe. By doing so, the Committee will respond to a request from European Council's President Tusk to send its recommendations on rebuilding trust in Europe through the voice of cities and regions.
The European Commission President and First Vice-President have also called the Committee to present its views on the White Paper on the Future of Europe . In this respect the CoR will adopt, on 12 May, a Resolution on the European Commission's White Paper, specifically highlighting the crucial role of EU cohesion policy in connecting citizens with Europe and building solidarity.
Local investment: what future for the EU budget and Cohesion Policy?
European Structural and Investment Funds are the main investment tools of the EU, worth more than one third of the overall EU budget until 2020. But their role after 2020 may be under threat due to Brexit and the emergence of other EU priorities, such as defence, security and migration. On 11 May, in an opinion led by Michael Schneider (EPP/DE), European cities and regions will present their proposals to improve cohesion policy and strengthen its contribution to the EU goals. The following day, the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Günther Oettinger, will address the CoR members, shortly before the Committee adopts its resolution on the Draft Annual EU Budget for 2018.
Also on the agenda is a debate with the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Ms Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, focusing on human rights, democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
Other opinions to be adopted:
Where: European Parliament – József Antall building (Room JAN 4Q2) - 60 rue Wiertz, Brussels
When: 11 May, 3pm - 9pm; 12 May, 9am - 1pm
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