Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 321

EUregions week: press statement president

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 11 ottobre 2019

President of the European Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz Let me welcome you all here to the European Week of Regions and Cities.
This Week comes not long after the EU elections where citizens have demanded a better Europe. It is not a blank cheque, but a demand for results. This year’s EU Regions Week will demonstrate that results depends on empowering and investing in every region, city, town and village.We need to start by being honest on the shortcomings of previous years.Firstly, there has been a lack of European solidarity in our response to the economic, financial and migration crisis, which have exasperated populism.Secondly, for many people, the EU has been failing in its efforts to engage, communicate and be visible in daily life. Brexit, for example, is a symptom of a lack of faith not only European democracy, but politics in general. The paradox of the Brexit tragedy is that it has allowed the rest of Europe to take stock of our common values.Thirdly, austerity and stifling public investment has not only held back economic growth, but equity, social progress and regional equality.The decision on the next EU budget will simply be the ultimate litmus test of the new European leadership: the size and form of the next EU budget will define our common future for the coming years. We need an EU budget that supports our ambition. Contributing 1% of GNI – a cup of coffee per person each day – is pitiful for 500 million Europeans. Local and regional governments, and the new European Parliament, demand member states increase their contributions to 1.3%.The EU27 have shown political solidarity on Brexit, and must now reflect this solidarity in their financial contributions. It must protect those regions most exposed to Brexit by filling the financial hole. Strengthening the EU budget and specifically the European Solidarity Fund and Cohesion policy will significantly protect our regions and our European economy. Let me also welcome the European Commission’s Green Deal – an open recognition that the EU must respond to the climate and biodiversity with vigour.The EU has shown global leadership on climate change, but as we wait for the details of this proposal, we know we need to invest more than 1,115 billion euros per year in the ecological transition.The EU must be carbon-neutral by 2050, energy efficient and the leading global green innovator. We need to reverse the years of underinvestment in greening our transport systems, making our homes energy efficient and cutting air pollution.But this Green New Deal cannot be reduced to an investment plan. It must be the inheritor of the 1933 Roosevelt experience with regulation of finance, tax reform, job creation and a launch of new indicators… the Green New Deal must mark the beginning of a new form of welfare state.Investing in the ecological transition must support every region, every citizen and end the 100m people who face energy poverty but not at the cost of cohesion.I would hope that not a cent of the next EU budget supports any form of fossil subsidies. The EU must of course help those regions reliant on coal to make the transition to protect jobs and help those regions in transition decarbonise their economies.Furthermore, we should not make the same mistake from the Juncker Plan: a top-down territorially blind financial instrument relying only on private funds cannot improve living conditions and convince every citizen that the EU is on their side. Creating stronger links between the European Semester, economic governance and Cohesion Policy without a corresponding upgrade to the EU’s multi-level governance system would almost certainly distance the regions from investment decisions that directly affect them.Cutting another 60, 70 or even 80 billion euros and reducing the budget for cohesion policy by around 15% would be the end of cohesion as we know it. Without cohesion we have no Union.

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