Strasbourg (F), 5 July 2011
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) welcomes the support of the European Parliament (EP) to Cohesion policy. By adopting the key reports proposed by the REGI Committee, in particular that of Markus Pieper on the conclusions of the European Commission’s 5th report on economic, social, and territorial cohesion in Europe, MEPs have clearly shown their commitment to a strong future-oriented Europe, anchored in its regions and close to its citizens.
A strong Europe…
The European Union can only become stronger by constantly pursuing and improving its Community policies. Cohesion policy should be allocated specific objectives, allowing for an evaluation based on results and a significant simplification of its management. The EP has clearly positioned itself inline with this vision, a decision that AER strongly applauds.
… anchored in its regions
European governance must continue to work towards increasing subsidiarity, a clear and efficient distribution of competences and the establishment of a true partnership between the different levels of public authorities. An effective Cohesion policy can only function with significant involvement of local and regional authorities from its very inception. Furthermore, the focus on a limited number of objectives in order to optimise the allocation of resources should be combined with an adaptation of these objectives to the reality of the regions. AER therefore fully recognizes itself in the recommendations made in this regard by the Parliament.
… and close to its citizens
Cohesion policy aims to provide the same development opportunities to all EU citizens, no matter where they live. It represents the essence of the very existence of the EU in the territories, and is one of the main positive elements citizens can perceive in their daily lives. Since it is unthinkable to deny certain citizens of this link with Europe, all regions must be concerned by Cohesion policy. The EP has fully grasped the importance of ensuring a Cohesion policy for all, and AER welcomes this position. The support granted to transition regions fulfils this same objective: to ensure the equity to all European citizens. AER is also pleased to note that the European Commission integrated the proposal for the recognition of this group of regions in the financial perspectives 2014-2020 issued last week.
In this context, despite the constant and diverse attempts to question or undermine the fundamental character of the policy, which is included in the Treaties and whose positive effects have been repeatedly proven, European regions are confident that the Cohesion policy will persevere. The European Structural Funds, insofar as they meet clear objectives and remain compatible with regional development strategies, are key to resolving the economic crisis, achieving the goals of Europe 2020, and even to finally reconnecting the European citizens with their Europe!
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