Representatives of Europe's local and regional authorities have again voiced their concerns over the lack of sub-national involvement in the implementation, further planning and evaluation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans. In an opinion drafted by Rob Jonkman (NL/ECR), Alderman of the municipality of Opsterland, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) underlines that local and regional authorities are responsible for more than half of public investment in the EU and that the objectives of the EU's €750 billion recovery package Next Generation EU can't be reached without their involvement. The opinion was adopted by the CoR's Commission for Economic Policy (ECON) on Wednesday following a debate with Maarten Verwey, European Commission's Director-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN).
(NL/ECR) said: "
The economic and social recovery, as well as the green and digital
transitions can only succeed if local and regional authorities are
directly involved in preparing and implementing the National Recovery
and Resilience Plans. The picture of the level of cities and regions'
involvement in preparing the national plans varies widely among Member
States. Therefore, there is a need for greater ownership and structural
involvement of local and regional authorities in the Member States,
only this way the national plans can be implemented successfully
the CoR opinion
asks the European Commission to clearly define the role of local and
regional authorities in the implementation, further planning and evaluation
of the recovery plans in the agreements with Member States. It warns that a
too centralised approach leads to territorial differences being overlooked,
putting regions that were already lagging behind in their development
before the outbreak of the pandemic at risk of an even greater development
gap. It also highlights the need to improve coordination between the
national recovery plans and cohesion policy funding, as well as with other
EU programmes. The long-term target should be a thorough reform of the
European semester with a code of conduct for the involvement of local and
ECFIN Director-General Maarten Verwey recalled that the
aim of the Recovery and Resilience Facility is to mitigate the economic and
social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and make European economies more
sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and
opportunities of the green and digital transitions. In this regard, he
highlighted the wide range of opportunities it provides to local
communities and stressed that the European Commission is encouraging the
Member States to strengthen the local and regional authorities'
Mr Jonkman's opinion builds on the discussions at the first
High-Level Forum on Regional Recovery and Resilience, which was organised by the European Committee of the Regions and the
Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council in Lipica (Slovenia) last week.
Participants underlined the need to timely deliver recovery investments on
the ground and to avoid delays and overlapping among EU policies. During
the Forum, EU Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni,
underlined the CoR's " constructive engagement in shaping the final design of the RRF"
and the vital importance of a strong partnership among the different levels
of governments in the forthcoming phase. "
Local and regional authorities will be key to make national recovery
plans a reality and we will continue to encourage Member States to
effectively involve them"
The Committee has provided a
first assessment of national recovery plans' preparation
and will present its findings on the impact of the pandemic on regional and
local communities in the EU Annual Local and Regional Barometer 2021, to be
presented on 12 October during the 19th
European Week of Regions and Cities.
ECON members also adopted two other opinions at Wednesday's meeting. These,
as well as Mr Jonkman's opinion, will be discussed at the CoR plenary
session on 1-3 December:
- Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy: The opinion drafted by Jeannette Baljeu (NL/Renew
Europe), Member of the Council of the Province of Zuid-Holland, stresses
the need for an inclusive industrial strategy that supports the green and
digital transitions, creates value across European regions and builds on
the regional ecosystem approach.
- European Commission Report on Competition Policy 2020
: The opinion drafted by Tadeusz Truskolaski (PL/EA),
Mayor of Białystok, underlines that ensuring level playing field is a
prerequisite for functioning Single Market and that any Covid-19 related
aid must be granted only to businesses that are experiencing the immediate
financial impact of the pandemic.
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