"For a Europe that is made by everyone, for everyone. For every town, city and region."
Speaking in front of 329 CoR members from all 27 EU Member States,
Vasco Alves Cordeiro, elected by acclamation, started by underlining that it is the Parliament
of the Azores that gives him the democratic legitimacy to be a member of
the Committee of the Regions: “
It is because of my commitment to the Azores that I am here today.
Without that, I wouldn’t be here.”
Presenting the priorities for his mandate, the new President said that "what
the present times require is a stronger and fairer Europe, for all. A
stronger Europe that advances, exactly, from the unapologetic
affirmation of its values and founding principles, such as freedom,
respect for human dignity, tolerance, the rule of law and democracy,
among others. A stronger Europe that is also based on promoting greater
and systematic citizen participation in the decision-making processes."
Referring to the future of Europe, Vasco Alves Cordeiro highlighted that “the response to the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of
Europe poses a challenge to the action, credibility and even trust of
all the European institutions. It is not possible to invite and urge
citizens to take part politically in this exercise in democracy in
order to define what they believe Europe should be and should be like,
and then consider, for example, that anything that might involve
amending the Treaties is a taboo subject."
In light of the ongoing war against Ukraine, Vasco Alves Cordeiro wants the
CoR to continue supporting Ukraine and to strengthen the European
perspective of the country and made clear that "cities and towns of Europe are at the forefront of the support for
Ukraine’s integration process into the great European family."
He further added:
"We want to support our Ukrainian partners now and in the future for
the reconstruction. This is why we are launching the Alliance for
Ukraine during this plenary."
Lastly, the new President pointed out that the European Union must focus on
ensuring the role of cohesion policy as a pillar of the European project,
making sure that no people and no places are left behind.
"The dilution of cohesion policy in the future post-2027 Multiannual
Financial Framework is a risk that should not and cannot be overlooked.
The Committee of the Regions must therefore hold its ground in the
defence of a policy which has still much to give for achieving the idea
of leaving no one behind, that is, the Union's own ideal."
Vasco Alves Cordeiro has been a member of the European Committee of the
Regions since 2013 and served as First Vice-President of the institution
from February 2020 to June 2022. In 2012, he was elected President of the
Regional Government of the Azores for the first time, a position to which
he was re-elected in 2016, and, in that capacity, represented the region at
European and international level. Cordeiro is the second Portuguese
president of an EU institution and the first Portuguese President of the
Committee of the Regions; he is also the only President of an EU
institution who comes from an outermost region of the EU.
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