Statement of Commissioner Stefan Fule following his meeting with Ms Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions
Today, I met with Ms Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions.
I took this opportunity to welcome the work of the Regional and Local Euro-Mediterranean Assembly (ARLEM) and to express my satisfaction at the inauguration of the Conference of Regional and Local Authorities of the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP), which is planned for September 2011. These two assemblies will serve as effective complements to the activities of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and will constitute important components of its regional dimensions.
I hope that the long-awaited CORLEAP will become a thriving centre of cooperation between regional and local authorities from the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. The first meeting of the CORLEAP will, I believe, pave the way for a regular forum of cooperation with Eastern partners (as is already the case with ARLEM).
We also discussed our new approach regarding the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) following the adoption of the ENP Review on 25 May that aims for a higher level of ambition and commitment, particularly with regard to stronger partnership with societies, greater differentiation, and being ready to go further with our neighbours in implementing ambitious political and economic reforms.
Being fully aware that the importance of the Committee of the Regions in the neighbourhood has increased I have made the commitment to attend such meetings and have thorough discussions on these issues.
With the ENP review, we are striving to build a closer, more democratic, more prosperous and stable neighbourhood. In addition, our approach aims at giving new impetus to our direct cooperation with civil society and also to our dialogue with all stakeholders of the reform process, including representatives of local and regional authorities. In this context, the Joint Communication on the ENP review recommends the development of pilot regional development programmes both in the East (where they have already been launched) and in the South. This will increase the need for our joint work with the Committee of the Regions.