The opening session of the 15th edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities was the occasion to debate about three topics with young guest speakers from different European countries: the future of Europe, Youth4Europe – Europe4Youth, and the future of EU cohesion policy.
Intervening in the debate on the Future of Europe, Catiuscia Marini, President of the CoR PES Group, pointed out that "To restore citizens' confidence in their future and in the one of their children, we have to change the dynamic. Our top priority must be to improve the living conditions of citizens and their rights. That's why a strong Social Pillar, which fosters social cohesion and social protection, must be a key element in Europe's future".
During the opening session, Corina Crețu, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Karl-Heinz Lambertz, the President of the European Committee of the Regions, also officially launched the #CohesionAlliance. Created by the CoR together with leading European associations for cities and regions, it calls for the EU budget after 2020 to make cohesion policy stronger, more effective, more visible and more easily available for every EU region.
"Europe must deliver on the issues that matter most to citizens and so the future EU budget must be a people's budget fit for the challenges of the 21st century. The #CohesionAlliance reflects the simple belief that, by investing in our communities, tackling regional disparities and supporting social integration, cohesion policy is the ultimate sign of European solidarity. Cohesion policy is the EU's very DNA - that's why we need to fight for it", Lambertz stressed.
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 "Regions and cities working for a better future". High level political debates and around 130 workshops will provide a unique opportunity for local administrators, EU fund managers, regional policy experts and practitioners to exchange views and experiences on three principal themes: Building resilient regions and cities; Regions and cities as change agents; Sharing knowledge to deliver results.