•To underline that the CoR should be included as appropriate in the internal EU decision-making process in the area of economic governance. This is important as the proposals and objectives put forward in the report as they are likely to have important local and regional repercussion. Moreover, the European Commission communication on the revamped European Semester is likely to present measures aiming to strengthen the use of macroeconomic imbalances procedure, and better integrate a strong social dimension, which also affect LRAs.
•To highlight to the European Commission the particular interests of the local and regional level in relation to economic governance.
Mr Lindquist was invited and participated at various high level conferences, where he made the case for the involvement of the local and regional level in EMU and economic governance and outlined his opinion. He intervened as speaker at the Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna on 22 June 2016, at the Economic Forum in Krynica on 6 September 2016 and at the EMU Forum 2016 in Vienna on 25 November 2016, where he was invited by the governor of the Austrian National Bank (OeNB). He wrote an article in Euractive published on 6 April 2016 where he pointed out that handling our structural problems will be a prerequisite for openness.
In a recent resolution, the European Parliament accepted the CoR's request to adopt a code of conduct to guarantee the structural involvement of local and regional authorities in the European Semester. In his meeting with CoR President Markkula in February 2016, EC Vice-President Dombrovskis also showed openness to more participation of local and regional authorities in the European Semester.
In a letter addressed to ECON Chair Dr Buchmann, Commissioner Cretu announced that the Commission will take up several requests of the opinion that the Commission has addressed, for example, the need to reduce regional disparities by launching several initiatives, including the lagging regions project. Commissioner Cretu also took note of the CoR calling for a wide consultation regarding the long-term EU territorial strategy, and for local and regional authorities to be involved in the European Semester.
The opinion should feed into the Commission White Paper, announced for 8 March 2017.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes the Five Presidents' Report as an important step towards making the economic and monetary union (EMU) more resilient to economic shocks, improving application of the principles and objectives of EMU as set out in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 120 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and introducing reforms to enhance the democratic legitimacy of EMU governance;
- stresses the need for greater convergence, both between Member States and within Member States, and is concerned about the disparities that, in some cases, are larger within Member States than between them;
- at the same time emphasises that social, economic and territorial disparities can only be reduced through a concept that is based on the 2020 strategy and includes a regional dimension and results-oriented cohesion policy, and therefore reiterates its support for a process of economic and social convergence. The CoR also reiterates its call for a broad Europe-wide consultation on the future territorial vision of the European Union to 2050. Such clear vision is needed, to which policies and funding mechanisms could subsequently be aligned . The CoR welcomes the current exploration of Cohesion Policy strategies beyond 2020;
- considers it necessary to address regional disparities in order to tackle social inequalities, boost growth and jobs, and improve competitiveness and cohesion within the EMU and the EU, and highlights the key role played by local and regional authorities as employers and in creating a business-friendly environment;
- reiterates its call for the Commission and Parliament to adopt a code of conduct to guarantee that local and regional authorities are involved in a structured way in the European Semester, the intention being to present a specific proposal in 2016, and undertakes to engage in ongoing dialogue with the Commission on this issue.