Thousands local and regional leaders are on the front line in the battle to limit the spread of the virus and manage its impact on the ground. Their professionalism and dedication is testified to by their actions from all corners of Europe.
The CoR is the interface and reference point between the European Union and its local and regional governments. In the current crisis, we are working to assist, inform, engage and represent regions and cities by sharing news and information through the Covid-19 Exchange Platform.
As part of this effort, we are publishing stories, solutions and responses from Members, local and regional bodies, and partners who are facing similar challenges. Most of these inputs were collected and shared by the CoR's Political Groups –
– on their websites.
These contributions will provide an on-the-ground reality check of the EU's measures to fight the pandemic and can serve as evidence to improve EU policies based on the experiences at local and regional level.
In the words of Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia, Greece: "The road ahead is uncertain, and communities urgently need help today to not only protect lives, but also to rebuild in the aftermath. Across Europe we must be able to work in partnership and fairly share the responsibility. The European Union must offer support and solidarity to those most in need: never has this been more true than during the unfolding pandemic crisis. Regions and cities will remain on the front line in the fight against the virus. Our first duty as political leaders during these difficult times is to our citizens. We must join forces at local, regional, national and European level to protect them."
Read the CoR Action Plan here.
The current unprecedented crisis has put to the test all aspects of our life, including cross-border and transnational cooperation which is facing its most challenging times in decades. Over the night, Member States closed their borders across the European Union without consulting their neighbours. This instantly put different sectors of our economy into a very difficult position, with some sectors, in certain regions, facing potential collapse.
On the other hand, the crisis has also shown the incredible resourcefulness, ingenuity and solidarity between the peoples of Europe, proving once again that cross-border cooperation is not only wanted by Europe's citizens, but it is also essential for the livelihoods of many of them.
The CoR has partnered with the European Commission (DG REGIO) and the leading associations working in the field of cross-border cooperation in Europe; the Mission Operationelle Transfrontalière (MOT), the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) and the Central European Service for Cross-border Initiatives (CESCI), to pool resources together and publish the many cross-border stories and experiences in one place – on this platform.
The stories and experiences that will be gathered through the COVID 19 Platform will be used to support an in-depth analysis of what the crisis means for cross-border and transnational cooperation and how cooperation across borders can help address this new situation. The outcomes will subsequently serve as the basis for our future policy proposals.