In a bilateral meeting held on 5 July, the
President of the European Committee of the
Regions, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and the President of
the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen,
focused on the role cohesion policy plays for
regions and cities and on the future of cohesion
funding as the EU's main long-term investment
policy. The European Committee of the Regions'
support for the sustainable reconstruction of
Ukraine's regions and cities was also discussed
by the two Presidents.
After the exchange, President Cordeiro said:
"The meeting with Commission President von der
Leyen has been an opportunity to discuss the top
priorities for the European Commission and the
Committee of the Regions and how we can together
strengthen the link between EU policies and the
realities on the ground, in cities and regions. The
challenges for implementation of EU policies but
also the innovation happening on the ground
deserve high attention from all EU Institutions.
With regards to the EU's long-term objectives
such as social cohesion and sustainability, I
expressed my concern for the increasing
disparities between our territories.
The current midterm review proposal for the EU's
long-term budget includes many positive aspects,
such as the Ukraine Facility, but also raises the
question of consequences for cities and regions, if
cohesion funds are reshuffled and recentralised.
The Committee of the Regions has started the
debate on what is needed to give Cohesion Policy a
new impetus. Together with the European
Commission, we need to assess how cohesion policy
can remain the EU's long term investment policy
while allowing for sufficient agility in case of
new emerging needs.
Furthermore, the meeting has been another
opportunity to demonstrate that cities and
regions continue to play a crucial role in assisting
the millions of displaced Ukrainians. I also shared
with President von der Leyen that local and
regional authorities should have an even more active
part in the reconstruction and in the
decentralisation process of Ukraine through, for
example, concrete capacity building.
As President of the Committee of the Regions, I
underlined our assembly's commitment to make the
upcoming EU elections a successful democratic
exercise all over the continent. Members of the
Committee of the Regions will be in close contact
with citizens and reach out to all cities and
regions, small villages as well as remote regions."