Adopted at the General Assembly in Montpellier, following a wide consultation of the regions, member and non-member states of the EU, the AER’s opinion on the reform of the Structural Funds was well received by the main European political bodies. The Prime Minister of Luxemburg and President of the EU Council for the second quarter of 1997, Mr J C Juncker, felt that this opinion “constitutes an irre- placeable basis for the long negotiations at European Union level”. The President of the European Commission, Mr J Santer, stessed the need for a “constructive cooperation of all the political representatives at European, national and regional levels” and “in this context” he “welcomed the Assembly of European Regions’ contribution to the current debate” and he pointed out that “the concerned directo- rates in the European Commission will examine, in detail, the Declaration adopted in Montpellier”.
Mr A Larsson, Director-General for Employment, Industrial Relations and Social Affairs in the European Commission, notes that the problems highlighted in the opinion go “to the heart of the reform” and says that he is convinced that there will be a lot of items to discuss among those concerned, “especially once the Commission has adopted its detailed proposals for new Regulations this spring”. Mr Larsson went on to say “during the course of forthcoming discussions on the reform, we would be pleased to have the opportunity for an exchange of views and suggest that we make contact again about this later in the year”. Mr R Savy, President of the Committee on Regional Policy, Regional Planning, the Environment and Tourism (V) (the Committee which drew up the AER reso- lution) intends to do just that.