Rome was at the frontline of the European debate, last 4 October. More than 600 high level representatives from European Institutions, Italian national and regional authorities, companies, associations and think tanks came together to discuss the upcoming 2014-2020 EU structural funds. The main goal of the conference, organized by AER, Euractiv Italy, Warrant Group and Fasi.it was to better understand the new structure for the next programming period and what policies have to be implemented in order to avoid past mistakes, and in particular the Italian relatively low absorption rate.
Key speakers: Gianni Pitella, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Fabrizio Barca, ex-Italian Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Silvia Costa, Italian MEP, Fiorenzo Belleli, Warrant Group President, Antonio Tajani, Vicepresident of the European Commission, Giovanni Chiodi, President of the Abruzzo region and AER representative at the conference.
New Italian National Agency for Territorial Cohesion
On 26 August 2013, the Italian national government decided to create a new agency for territorial cohesion. This agency will provide technical support in order to implement the European funds in Italy. “We have dragged this problem for a long time and the next seven-year period will perhaps be the last of the EU as we know it; we should not miss this opportunity. We have to be as efficient as possible”, explained Enrico Letta, Italian Prime-minister during the 26/08/2013 press conference.
Assembly of European Regions appeal
“Regions confirm the will to work in a common national strategy but this has to be coordinated with the regional and local authorities. We cannot forget the regional policies that are boosting the Italian development: we can and are already sharing the funds with other Italian regions” said Mr. Chiodi. “I would like to underline that the national State has to take into account the regional authorities. If you take away our competences and transfer them to a national entity, you have to be aware that you will worsen the situation, instead of solving it! Don’t forget that regions are closer to the citizens and we better know the problems that they are facing”.