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Highlights of the January plenary of the European Committee of the Regions  
In case you missed the #CoRplenary:

The EU's support for a rural revival and €500bn regional investment, delivering cohesion policy, the European Green Deal and the Conference on the Future of Europe were major topics at the two-day plenary of the CoR. The remote plenary also covered the delivery of zero-emissions transport, a debate on the Conference on the Future of Europe, and presentation of a local democracy award to the Mayor of Cologne.

  • ​€500bn of cohesion investments: the Joint Action Plan was signed on January 25 by the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira, and the Chair of the CoR Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) Nathalie Sarrabezolles. The Plan enhances cooperation to support regions in the transition towards a more inclusive, sustainable and digital Europe, and promotes cohesion as fundamental value and compass for all EU policies.
  • Long-term vision for the EU's rural areas: Dubravka Šuica, the European Commission's Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, and Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, discussed the steps being taken to help the recovery of the EU's rural areas. The adopted opinion by Rapporteur Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla (ES/EPP), President of Andalusia , highlighted the urgency of putting in place concrete proposals for immediate action – accompanied by resources and quantitative targets – to support the long-term vision and ensure its effective implementation.
  • Opinion on EU strategic framework on health and safety at work: The framework sets an ambitious Vision Zero target to eliminate work-related deaths in Europe by 2030. Rapporteur Sergio Caci (IT/EPP), mayor of Montalto di Castro underlined in the CoR's adopted opinion that it is only by means of an in-depth dialogue with local and regional authorities and different stakeholders, that the Vision Zero target can be reached. With the new strategy, the European Commission aims at ensuring a safer working environment in line with the new needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, digital and green transitions and new forms of work.
  • High-level debate on cohesion implementation: Members of the CoR discussed questions and concerns about the implementation of the EU's pandemic recovery plan with Elisa Ferreira, the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms , and Lilyana Pavlova, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank . They call for a broad mobilisation to avoid any delay or loss of resources and also to make sure that every euro counts in delivering a fair and sustainable recovery. The partnership focuses on a more efficient and timely implementation of cohesion, launching the new post-2021 programmes and ensuring complementarity with recovery funds.
  • Zero Transport Emission by 2050: Adina Vălean, the European Commissioner for Transport, discussed how the EU can achieve its objective of reducing transport emissions by 90% by 2050. Support by EU local and regional leaders for the European Green Deal risks being undermined if key sectors of the local economy are left behind in the transition to a more sustainable future. The adopted opinion by Adrian Ovidiu Teban (RO/EPP), Mayor of Cugir, on stronger CO2 emission standards for cars and vans and the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure, calls for a European co-financing mechanism that enables every region to upgrade their infrastructure to offer greener fuels and drive demand for more sustainable vehicles.
  • Mayor Pawel Adamowicz Award Ceremony: Henriette Reker, Mayor of Cologne, received the Award for excellence and courage in promoting freedom, solidarity and equality. The Award, presented for the first time this year, was created to continue the legacy of the late Paweł Adamowicz, who was tragically murdered in 2019.
  • Debate on the Conference on the Future of Europe: The plenary session saw an exchange between the CoR's members and members of the Conference of the Future of Europe plenary working group on European Democracy; namely, Reinhold Lopatka, member of the national council of Austria; MEP Sandro Gozi (IT/RE) ; Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania ; Wepke Kingma, Conference on the Future of Europe Delegate for the Netherlands Debate . In the resolution a dopted on Thursday, the CoR stressed that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are the best way to ensure effective and efficient decision-making which reflects the real needs of citizens. It underlined that national, regional and local levels of governance must be taken into account to improve the way the EU works.
  • Climate change measures and gender equality: the CoR adopted a strongly worded opinion on Gender equality and Climate change: towards mainstreaming the gender perspective in the European Green Deal that calls for gender equality to be fully developed in EU climate polices and the European Green Deal.
  • Kata Tüttő (HU/PES), rapporteur for the CoR opinion and deputy mayor of Budapest , gave it her support not only to call for gender mainstreaming in climate policy but also for the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council to commit to a gender-based approach to budgeting as a whole, making a clear link to gender in all EU decisions on revenue and expenditure.
  • Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil: The CoR highlighted in its recommendations that the human and environmental costs were too high and the failure to meet existing EU targets are alarming. Support from the European Union could significantly help local and regional communities make their public spaces greener and healthier in the coming decades. The opinion on Zero Pollution by Rapporteur Marieke Schouten (NL/Greens), alderwoman of the municipality of Nieuwegein, pointed to ineffective coordination between public authorities, a lack of administrative capacity, insufficient funding, a lack of knowledge and data, insufficient compliance mechanisms, and a lack of policy integration.
  • Frida Nilsson (SE/Renew Europe) of Lidköping Municipal Council, drafted an opinion on Local and regional authorities accelerating the implementation of the EU Pollinators Initiative, drawing also on her community's efforts to make support for bees and insects an ordinary part of urban planning and city life.

Further material:

The Plenary webpage ,

Webstreaming day 1: 26/01 and day 2: 27/0​1

The plenary Live Blog, and opinions and amendments .


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