Working together to generate growth: VP Šefčovič urges regions to play their part
Europe has a long-term plan to stimulate growth and create jobs – it's called the Europe 2020 strategy – but failure to properly involve all levels of government in preparing and implementing national strategies is undermining our best efforts, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič told members of the Committee of the Regions on Wednesday.
Speaking at the meeting of the CoR Bureau – made up of leading members from local and regional authorities across the EU – V-P Šefčovič welcomed the commitment from sub-national government to help get Europe back on the path to growth through a deeper involvement in the rolling out on the ground of the Europe 2020 strategy.
"As the assembly representing cities, local authorities and regions across the EU, you have a key role to play in linking the European level to the regional and local levels. You can communicate the Europe 2020 strategy and act as our ambassadors at that crucial level closest to citizens. But more than that, you can also act as multipliers of EU action, by making sure that what you do on the ground is linked intrinsically to the Europe 2020 strategy. Ownership of the strategy at all levels is indispensable for its success, and particularly at the regional and local levels," he said.
He also underlined that the Commission expected the next 'round' of EU cohesion funding – from 2014-2020 – to be much more closely linked to Europe 2020, and that new Commission proposals would see European, national and, where appropriate, local and regional authorities signing 'partnership contracts' setting out how best to design and implement cohesion-funded programmes to meet the overall growth targets.
V-P Šefčovič also pinpointed other areas where the Commission and the CoR could achieve more through closer cooperation – for example in the area of development, where many local and regional authorities from Europe are already working closely with their counterparts from developing countries and where the Commission and CoR have developed a number of tools to help this take place more effectively.