The European Week of Regions and Cities opened today with a debate entitled "The Future of Europe is Cohesion", led by European Committee of the Regions' (CoR) President Karl-Heinz Lambertz, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Commissioner Corinna Creţu and the European Parliament's Vice-President Pavel Telicka.
Commissioner Creţu stressed: "Europe needs a cohesion policy for all regions, not only to fight poverty, including in richer regions, but to keep Europe visible and tangible everywhere". She called for the swift conclusion of the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2021-2027, warning that "100,000 regional and local projects will be in danger if the adoption of the future MFF is delayed".
Intervening in the debate on behalf of the PES Group, its President Catiuscia Marini, President of the Umbria Region (Italy), pointed out: "Over the last years, cities and regions have largely benefited from cohesion policy. The closer this policy is to EU citizens, the more it can increase their trust in a Europe that takes care of their real concerns. We need to make sure that there will be sufficient funding for this solidarity instrument, which is the very essence of the European project, and that it remains accessible to all regions".
The PES President also warned against any attempts to renationalise the European Social Fund (ESF), underlining that "in order to tackle the new challenges we are confronted with, the ESF must remain an integral part of the EU's cohesion policy and be jointly managed by the different levels of government".
This year’s European Week of Regions and Cities is co-organised by the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions under the title "For a strong EU Cohesion Policy beyond 2020', ". High level political debates and more than 100 workshops will provide a unique opportunity for more than 6,000 local administrators, EU fund managers, regional policy experts and practitioners to exchange views and experiences.