Navigation path

Pan-European dialogue with citizens: Commissioner Hahn discusses on cohesion policy and globalisation

(28 March 2014)

Pan-European dialogue with citizens: Commissioner Hahn discusses on cohesion policy and globalisation

After 50 dialogues held in cities in every one of the EU's 28 Member States, the European Commission invited on 27 March over 150 citizens to Brussels for a pan-European debate in the Commission's Charlemagne Building in Brussels.

Commission President José Manuel Barroso lead this Citizens' Dialogue whilst 10 other Commissioners and Members of the European Parliament debated with citizens in parallel events held throughout the day. Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn discussed on "Global competition as a challenge for the strengthening of European Regions" together with Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

Quotes taken from the Commissioner's statements and answers to the public:

- "Regional policy and its investments have two roles – one is of course to reduce the disparity between regions and bring those who are lagging behind to the level of others – the other is to provide the financial incentive to bring about wider European goals – for example under Europe 2020, to reduce poverty, to support the real economy, to tackle climate change and promote innovation – and that is something for all of Europe's 274 regions."

- On how local authorities can do more to communicate the value of the EU:

" The role of local and regional authorities is vital, it can't just be upto Commissioners alone. There is a tendency to nationalise the successes and to Europeanise the problems. On a local level for example our cross border projects are enormously appreciated by the citizens. We can do more to communicate them – and of course even down to when a project has received EU Regional Policy funding that should be reflected – in a plaque, a sticker , a flag. Some are better than others at doing this."

- On the issue of participation and measuring the impact of the funds, the Commissioner pointed out that both these elements are extremely important in the newly reformed Regional Policy: "The principle of multi level governance, the partnership principle and the code of conduct to involve NGO's, local representatives, employers and employee organisations are clearly there, but ultimately it will be upto individual Member States and regions as to know exactly how they implement this. However there is a difference between informing and involving citizens.".

"The new policy places much more emphasis than in the past on measuring the results of the policy and the impact of the funds. In the past we looked more at the correct use of the funds. Now we have pushed and reached agreement that what they deliver will be more closely monitored than before."

"Equipping regions to compete on the global stage is something addressed by the Reformed Regional Policy through the smart specialisation strategies which are now a pre condition for funding. Every one of the 274 regions should be covered by one of these strategies which encourage regions to build on their potential , and identity the strengths that they wish to support through the EU investments".


Press release