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President Cordeiro discusses with President von der Leyen EU's top priorities to strengthen cooperation and voice the needs of regions and cities  

​ 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."



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