AER study uncovers serious failings in European cohesion policy
Strasbourg, 17 January 2008
Following years of participation in the European Commission’s development of cohesion policy, the establishment of its own reflection group of experts as well as extensive consultations with 60 regions from 22 countries across the wider Europe, the Assembly of European Regions (AER) has launched a timely study on Regional Policy 2014+.
Basing its findings upon the specific experiences and views of the regions themselves, this unique study uncovers a number of key failings in the development and implementation of European cohesion policy.
The study found that the regions are either totally excluded from the cohesion and funding process (over a third of regions surveyed are not even involved in the management of EU funds) or otherwise severely hindered by the EC’s enormous administrative burdens and often confusing policy guidelines.
‘Clearly, the regions’ potential to contribute a bottom-up, grass-roots approach to the development of cohesion policy is being squandered,’ AER President Riccardo Illy said at today’s launch.
AER’s study on Regional Policy 2014+ calls for a more integrated and collaborative development of cohesion policy post-2013. Its recommendations particularly focus on the need for a new kind of tripartite cohesion policy, whereby the regions play a key role alongside European and national decision-makers.
The study further calls for the development of territorial and interregional co-operation, an increased synergy between EU regional policy and other community policies (notably the European Social Fund and Agricultural Fund for Rural Development), as well as greater attention to regions’ practical requirements such as adequate financing and training.
‘As I have always maintained, the authorities best equipped to develop and implement regional policy are the regions themselves. Cohesion policy is just another example of why the principle of subsidiarity should be fully respected, both by European and national decision-makers,’ President Illy said.
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