Göteborg (S), 17 September 2009
In the wake of José Manuel Barroso’s re-election as European Commission president, the political bureau of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) met yesterday and today in Göteborg, Sweden, to discuss what Europe’s leading organisation of regional authorities expects from the new Commission. The bureau session was hosted by the Västra Götaland region in association with the Swedish Presidency of the EU.
Speaking at the bureau meeting, AER president Michèle Sabban insisted that the new Commission has to take into account the regions, “starting from the way it managed the economic crisis to its approach to territorial development, the previous Commission did not recognise the importance of the regions. With our 270 member regions, AER will ensure that tomorrow’s Europe is a Europe of successful regionalisation.”
Adopting a declaration on “What regions expect from a new European Commission”, AER’s bureau has called for a “true dialogue between the different DGs” to “better link policies”. Climate and energy policies, for example, should be integrated with regional policies, transport and research.
The declaration further calls for greater involvement of regions in “the development of long-term strategies such as the Agenda for Growth and Jobs and the future cohesion policy”. The Commission should also involve regions more when deciding upon guidelines on environmental matters, including European funding programs for energy policies.
Highlighting the fact that the European Union is “more than a union of markets”, the declaration further requests that the Commission’s project for a social market economy “promotes holistic policies that take into account the most vulnerable persons in our societies and strives to bring them within the sphere of the European economic and social project.”
Finally, AER’s members call upon the next European Commission to “act in a truly European spirit instead of representing national interests.”
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