The opinion welcomes evidence-based policy-making, such as the Europe 2020 strategy, that sets targets and measures progress. However, in the future, previous mistakes should be avoided. Most importantly, cities and regions should be engaged in target-setting and targets and indicators should be regionalised.
Despite all advantages of GDP, economic indicators do not capture all relevant aspects. Thus, a multi-dimensional approach is advocated that complements GDP with social and environmental aspects.
The new approach shall be linked to the allocation of structural funds by opening up eligibility decisions in the post-2020 Cohesion Policy to GDP complementing measures.
The Commission should set out a roadmap to engage cities and regions in the process and to deliver the regional data needed to design, implement, monitor and evaluate the renewed Europe 2020 strategy.
Sir Albert BORE (PES/UK), the Vice-President of the PES group of the CoR has presented on behalf of the Rapporteur the stance of the CoR with regard to the 'GDP and beyond' debate at the meeting of the Horizontal Working Group B of the European Parliament's S&D political group on How different indicators can influence the future of the European cohesion policy? and What it does mean for your region? held on 26 January 2016.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- notes that the debate on Indicators for territorial development - GDP and beyond is political in nature, and should start with a shared and democratic definition of the strategic objectives for current and future generations;
- acknowledges the merits of GDP as a simple, straightforward and linear indicator based on a clear methodology. However, GDP is not an accurate measure of the ability of a society to tackle many aspects of key concern to citizens, as observed by regional and local representatives;
- welcomes the numerous initiatives at international, national, regional and local level for establishing indices for measuring progress beyond GDP. However, not all kinds of methodological approaches are equally appropriate for an EU-wide method; and supports, therefore, methods that complement GDP when measuring progress towards common strategic goals;
- emphasises that the Europe 2020 strategy has established a set of targets with associated key indicators and acknowledged the importance of complementing data on economic growth (GDP);
- underlines that a number of EU instruments are still based on an excessively narrow economic measure. This also concerns Cohesion Policy. Therefore, eligibility decisions are basically blind to social and environmental and territorial aspects across European regions. The logical step would be to base future instruments on a more comprehensive, uniform method;
- underlines, in this context, that the availability of indicators and of frequently updated data at a regional level is essential to improving the accountability of the technical proposal and making good political decisions;
- suggests, with a view to the next programming period beyond 2020, that the European Commission starts as early as possible an in-depth discussion with local and regional authorities about the future goals of these policies and the necessary indicators to measure this progress, and invites the Commission to put forward in this respect a roadmap on GDP and beyond.