Michel Delebarre, member of Dunkirk Municipal Council (FR/PES) and senator for the Nord department, has been elected as chair of the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Economic Policy (ECON) following Christian Buchmann (AT/EPP), member of the Styrian Parliament. Arnoldas Abramavičius (LT/EPP), Member of Zarasai District Municipal Council and Rob Jonkman (NL/ECR), Member of the Executive Council of Opsterland, will serve as First and Second Vice-Chair.
Taking office in Brussels today, Mr Delebarre highlighted the economic challenges currently facing Europe: "As I start my term as chair of the European Committee of the Regions' ECON commission, we are seeing a series of major reforms at EU level: there is an abundance of ideas about the future architecture of economic and monetary governance, we need to lay the groundwork for a new long-term development strategy to succeed the Europe 2020 strategy, the internal market is facing a moment of truth in relation to the implementation of the Services Directive and the impact of Brexit, and we need more effective European tools for managing globalisation."
"My ambitions as chair of the ECON commission are twofold", he added. "I want the ECON commission to be a credible and audible relay for calls made on these topics by local and regional authorities; and at the same time, I want to help ensure that the reforms undertaken are not divorced from reality, and actually make practical sense in the regions."
Michel Delebarre is a long-standing member of the European Committee of the Regions. He was president of its socialist group from 2002 to 2006, and was subsequently elected as Committee president (2006-2008). He has also acted as rapporteur on issues relating to EU cohesion policy, the Europe 2020 strategy for growth, and cross-border cooperation.
The European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Economic Policy coordinates and prepares the Committee's work in areas such as industrial policy, SME policy, economic and monetary policy, the internal market, international trade, competition and State aid. The commission is made up of more than 100 local and regional elected representatives from all EU Member States.
Christian Buchmann chaired the ECON commission for the last two and a half years putting special emphasis on smart regulations and support for small and medium sized enterprises.