The opening session called on EU, national, regional and local actors to join forces to accelerate cohesion policy investments as COVID and the war in Ukraine widen disparities across the EU.
The President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and the EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, opened on 10 October the 20th European Week of Regions and Cities, together with the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola. The key role of EU's cohesion policy in tackling the challenges facing the Union was at the hearth of the opening debate, held in the European Parliament's hemicycle, with the participation of hundreds of regional and local representatives.
During the debate, President Cordeiro highlighted that: "
The way to achieve the dream of a Europe united in diversity lies in
cohesion policy. Thinking of how much cohesion policy has done and how
much more it can achieve considering the current challenges, we should
guarantee that all European policies include a territorial approach,
without harming cohesion. The future of cohesion policy starts now, but
let's remember that we have to convince others to join this effort,
from national governments to people across Europe that need to see that
speaking of cohesion policy is speaking about Europe itself. This is
what the EU Regions Week is all about
Our Cohesion Policy is the most explicit expression of EU solidarity.
And it is in solidarity that Europe is at its strongest and best. We
have seen this after multiple crises, and we need to show concrete
solidarity again today when we see the indiscriminate and sickening
attacks on civilians in Ukraine. Ukrainians need to be able to defend
themselves. They need heavy weaponry, and we can help supply it.
Appeasement is never an option and war criminals must be held to
account. Our cities and regions are at the forefront, when Europe
continues to show its remarkable solidarity towards displaced
Ukrainians fleeing an escalating war," said President Metsola.
Commissioner Ferreira highlighted that: "
Cohesion policy is uniquely placed to be part of both our short-term
and long-term answers to the crises and challenges Europe is facing. By
levelling up lagging Member States and regions, Cohesion creates the
conditions for a proper functioning of the internal market. By being
close to citizens, Cohesion fosters a stronger sense of belonging to
our common project. By engaging local and regional stakeholders in its
implementation, Cohesion reinforces the quality of our democracies
The #EURegionsWeek 2022 will welcome from 10 to 13 October more than 300
events, 1000 speakers from all across the EU with presentations of projects from all member states. The key
topics of this year's edition are the green and digital transitions,
territorial cohesion and youth empowerment.
EURegionsWeek 2022 Opening