Members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) elected today Karl-Heinz Lambertz (PES), Senator of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, as their new President for the next two and half years. He is taking over from Markku Markkula (EPP/Finland), who has led the CoR since 2015.
During his acceptance speech, Karl-Heinz Lambertz pointed to the role of young people as Europe's driving force and to the need for a stronger social dimension: "You can't fall in love with the single market. Europe needs to fulfill the promise of offering better social rights, a promise that was made more than 60 years ago. The social dimension of the EU is not a luxury. It is vital to improve the lives of Europeans and for the EU's survival", he emphasized.
Laying out his Presidency priorities, Lambertz called for a strong future cohesion policy and for a better investment in quality public services for all citizens: "The EU's cohesion policy, which is the EU's DNA, plays a decisive role in reducing regional inequality through social, economic and territorial development. It creates jobs, renews our infrastructures and promotes social inclusion. Defending a strong, more effective and visible cohesion policy is thus our top priority behind which we must stand united."
PES Group President Catiuscia Marini, who was confirmed as the PES Group's President at the Group's meeting ahead of the plenary session, warmly welcomed Lambertz' election and underlined the Groups' full support for making his Presidency a success.
Karl-Heinz Lambertz has been a member of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) since 2001 and was President of the CoR's Socialists' Group from 2011 to 2015. Being a member of the German-speaking community of Belgium's Parliament since 1981, he held numerous government ministerial posts between 1990 and 1999 before being elected as Minister-President, position which he held from 1999 until 2014. He then became President of the German-speaking Community Parliament until 2016 before taking post as a Senator.