Minister Bora, why is the Marche Region a progressive region?
Marche Region is a progressive region because it is particularly sensitive to the fight against the climate crisis. The Marche Region was selected in 2016 as the Ambassador for the Covenant of the Mayors because of its historical commitment to the environment.
In 2017, we implemented a project called Project Marte that aims at reducing energy consumption not only in public buildings but also in hospitals, as they are particularly greedy in energy consumption. We selected three hospitals for which we are trying to implement energy efficiency policies. We are doing the same at the level of public lighting. The idea is to reduce consumption via the use of LED lights but also by means of centralised facilities enabling authorities to switch off or reduce the energy consumption of their cities.
How is the Marche Region implementing the objective of sustainable development of poverty eradication?
Thanks to the European Social Fund, the Regional Ministry of Labour and Training has launched a call for tenders allowing the payment of the so-called inclusion income but also seeking to increase education and thus to enhance the tuition quality of all those who are in a particularly difficult situation.
Even if poverty seems to have decreased in the Marche region, data remains worrying because around 8.8 % of households in the area are in a particularly difficult situation. The inclusion income thus clearly constitutes an important but unfortunately temporary measure.
The data also confirms unfortunately that families with under-age children, large households and/or coming from immigration are the most in difficulty. I believe that our region's policies should continue to give this kind of answer and pay particular attention to women who, let us not forget it, are the most at risk when it comes to poverty (maternity leave poses the problem of finding work after it or just to simply remain in the labour market).
How can Europe help Marche to be a more sustainable region?
Europe is not only important; it is also indispensable for regions in order to help them implement the policies they share with trade associations and trade unions.
For a region like Marche, Europe stands for reconstruction. We are very grateful to Europe and to its Member States for the generosity they have shown after the earthquake. They gave us around €400 million in order to support new investments in agriculture.
Gender equality is one area in which Europe could still help. Flexible working hours are still very hard to get after maternity and statistics confirm that the gender pay gap is still very large. This is particularly unacceptable when we know that women are often the ones with the most educational qualifications. We thus hope that the next European Social Fund will integrate all these very much needed resources. We will make sure to invest them.
Manuela Bora has been regional minister of Marche region for Europe, industry, trade, internationalization, green economy, development, and equal opportunities since June 2015. She is a member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions since September 2015.