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Making cohesion more effective, relevant and visible to citizens: President Markkula congratulates Maltese Presidency and welcomes EU Council conclusions  

Statement by the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Markku Markkula, on the outcome of General Affairs Council (GAC) held on 25 April, Luxembourg.

As the EU's assembly of regional and local political representatives we are pleased to see that EU ministers made clear commitments in favour of cohesion policy as an investment lifeline for many regions and cities. If implemented effectively and in synergy with other public and private funding, this investment will contribute to achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion. It will continue to spark innovation, create jobs and prosperity, support social integration and tackle regional disparities.

More importantly, it directly benefits citizens' lives showing that the EU does matter. The future of Europe now needs a stronger, simpler and more effective cohesion policy. Local and regional authorities know how cohesion funds can best serve their communities so their role must be strengthened to make this cornerstone of EU policy fit for the future.

For European regions and cities the conclusions by the General Affairs Council is therefore a concrete commitment that the forthcoming discussions on the EU budget post 2020 will take into account the crucial role of cohesion policy. This was the political message we shared in an open letter on cohesion policy addressed to the Maltese EU Presidency and shared with all 28 Ministers.

Led by Michael Schneider (EPP/DE), the European Committee of the Regions will adopt its opinion during our plenary on 11-12 May. This is part of our roadmap on cohesion policy during the discussions on the current and future EU budget.

We fully support statement made by Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary for EU funds of Malta, who stressed the need for the EU to step-up its efforts to increase visibility of the positive impact of cohesion policy which is why it is a core theme in our communication with citizens .

Note for the editor

The European Committee of the Regions will be the first EU institution to adopt a formal position on the future of the EU's cohesion policy during its plenary on 11 and 12 May . Local and regional leaders from all across Europe will be joined by the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, the European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger.

The Committee has also stepped-up its work to increase the visibility of cohesion policy including through the organisation of a series of open debates with citizens in towns, cities and regions .

Open letter by President Markkula to the Maltese EU Presidency on cohesion policy

The Future of Cohesion Policy beyond 2020 - CoR draft opinion, rapporteur Michael Schneider (EPP/DE), State Secretary, Representative of the Land of Saxony-Anhalt to the Federal Government.

Pierluigi Boda
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