The new chair of the Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) is Mark Speich (DE/EPP), Secretary of State for Federal, European and International Affairs for the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Mr Speich was elected
on 13 February, the last day of the inaugural plenary of the Committee's
2020-25 mandate. The commission's first vice-president is Vincenzo Bianco
(IT/PES) of Catania city council and president of ANCI, the National
Association of Italian Municipalities.
Mr Speich, who also
leads the German national delegation, told members that North Rhine-Westphalia
would, if a country, be the nineteenth-biggest economy in the world. He described
his state as "like the EU in microcosm, but, unfortunately, without the
sea", because of its economic and social diversity, with a mix of large cities
and rural areas and affluent areas with full employment and former coal towns with
high rates of unemployment.
Addressing the work of
CIVEX, he identified a number of "cornerstones that cannot be moved":
the Conference on the Future of Europe; migration and integration; and external
relations with cities and regions in the EU's neighbourhood and development
Mr Speich joined the
CoR in March 2018. He is the CoR's rapporteur on 'socio-economic structural change in Europe's coal
regions', which was adopted in
October 2019 and advocated the creation of a transition fund to help current
and former coal-producing regions.