José Ignacio Ceniceros González, President of the Autonomous Community of La Rioja in Spain, has been elected as the new chair of the SEDEC commission of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). SEDEC, which stands for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture, is one of the six thematic commissions in the CoR. Its members are currently meeting in Timiş oara, Romania, with a special eye on cultural policy and the upcoming European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
Mr Ceniceros (ES/EPP), born in 1956, has been the President of La Rioja since 2015. Before that he chaired the regional Parliament from 1999 to 2015. His mandate as SEDEC chair will run until beginnig 2020.
"Together we can continue to advance in the common European project for more political, economic and social cohesion. Promoting employment policies, responding to demographic challenges, strengthening the social dimension of Europe, research and innovation, digitalisation, emancipation of youth and the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 will be some of the key priorities during my term in office", Mr Ceniceros said.
"I'm convinced that the efforts of local and regional authorities can increase the citizens' trust in the European Union and contribute to the creation of growth and jobs", he added.
The SEDEC members – local and regional representatives from EU member states – were invited to Timişoara by Alin-Adrian Nica (RO/EPP), Mayor of Dudeştii Noi, who was appointed as the commission's vice-chair alongside Peter Kaiser (AT/PES), Governor of Carinthia.
Mr Nica is currently preparing the CoR's position paper on the Mid-term review of the Digital Single Market. He said: "Starting my mandate as first vice-chairman of the SEDEC Commission in my native city of Timişoara is of great significance for me. Beside its historical and cultural background, Timişoara is a Romanian IT pole and one of the Romanian fastest growing cities. People here are very involved in the digital and believe the digital economy is not only the economy of the future, but more and more the economy of today. Our regions and cities must be prepared to adjust to the new challenges brought by the digitalization and change the administration and the education system accordingly."
SEDEC members discussed the first version of Mr Nica's report on Thursday and adopted following draft opinions, which will be voted in the CoR plenary session on 30 November–1 December:
The agenda in Timişoara – recently designated as European Capital of Culture in 2021 – will continue on Friday with a conference "Culture Unites the Community", where the focus will be on the upcoming European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and the role of culture as a driver for territorial development. Among the key guest speakers are Nicolae Robu , Mayor of Timişoara, Călin-Ionel Dobra, President of Timiş County Council and Mircea Diaconu, Vice-Chair of the CULT Committee of the European Parliament, as well as representatives of the European Commission, local and regional authorities, artists, cultural institutions and the business sector.
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