Brussels, 22 January 2016: Structured Dialogue with the EU Commission and the Associations of Local and Regional Authorities organised by the CoR, to discuss about the Commission's Work Programme for 2016 "No time for business as usual" :



 

The Committee of the Regions organized on Friday, 22nd January 2016 a meeting of the Structured Dialogue with the EU Commission and the Associations of Local and Regional Authorities to discuss about the Commission's Work Programme for 2016, subtitled "No time for business as usual". In the following link you can find this document in different language versions: http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/key-documents/index_en.htm

Mr Jiří Buriánek, Secretary General of the CoR, welcomed the participants and opened the meeting. He also referred to the CoR's Resolution on the Work Programme, approved by the 115th Plenary Session of the CoR on 2-4 December 2015.

The Secretary General of the Commission, Mr. Alexander Italianer, presented the EC Work Programme 2016 and the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy, focusing on the implementation of the Juncker's Agenda, the Single Market, the need to simplify procedures, and current debates in the EU affecting its present and future development.

The AEBR was invited to attend this meeting, as well as the Assembly of European Regions (AER), the Conference of European Regions with Legislative Power (RegLeg), the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR), the Conference of Presidents of European Regional Legislative Assemblies (CALRE), and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).

All Associations present had the chance to make their remarks and questions, which were answered by Mr Jean-Eric Paquet, Deputy-Secretary General of the European Commission. Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of the CEMR presented a common position of the CEMR, CPMR and Eurocities, stressing the need to take into account the opinions and views of Local and Regional Authorities (LRAs). He also highlighted local authorities' discomfort with the need to be registered in the transparency register to ask for meetings at the EU institutions. He also referred to the refugees issue: the EU supports Member States, but MSs not always transfer resources to LRAs who, at the end, have to take care of most services. Eleni Marianou, Secretary General of the CPMR, asked about the scope of the Review of the Multianual Financial Framework (MFF), expected for 2016, and any change in priorities. Anna-Lisa Boni, Secretary General of Eurocities asked about the EU Urban Agenda, and the need to develop sound Urban Impact Assessments. RegLeg and CALRE insisted in the need to involve LRAs to implement EU policies in a more systematic and coherent way. Mathieu Mori, Secretary General of the AER asked about the EU initiatives on migration and integration, and not to forget the role of LRAs in the implementation of measures directly addressed to refugees and migrants. He also highlighted the need to go deeper on measures for youth mobility and employment.

Martín Guillermo, Secretary General of the AEBR, stressed the absence of LRAs in some debates and proposals, and the lack of communication with the citizens about main EU issues. He also asked for a stronger territorial dimension in the reviews of the EU financial framework, the EU2020 strategy and any other expected revision report. He welcomed the CoR's Resolution on the EU Work Programme 2016 and the interest of LRAs about main aspects of the Juncker Programme. He showed the interest of border regions in most fields (White Paper on Rural Areas, Blue Growth, Waste Legislation, Energy, Sustainable Development Goals, the cohesion of Digital Market and services, etc.), but he stressed the need to deepen the ICT infrastructure, particularly in rural border areas. Labour Mobility is another issue for border and cross-border regions, as well as related aspects, such as taxation, recognition of skills and diplomas, a modernization of vocational training in several EU countries affected by strong youth unemployment and early school leaving. Last but not least he also stressed the role of LRAs in many border areas affected by the flow of refugees.

The Commission took good note of all remarks and stressed their intention to fill the development gap in cohesion and internal market. They also insisted in the need to develop sound territorial impact assessments, while keeping flexibility in the implementation of structural funding. The key role of regions in governance and some sectoral aspects were also tackled. A main conclusion was to strengthen the collaboration with the CoR and the associations in order to make better regulations. 

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