Sep 18

CPMR to President Barroso: Cohesion is not a redistributive policy between countries

Following the recent publication of the European Commission’s 6th Cohesion Report, the Presidents of Regional associations, together with the President of the Committee of the Regions, met outgoing European Commission President José Manuel Barroso on 18th September 2014, to discuss how to best focus Cohesion Policy, to boost public investment and deliver jobs and growth in the European regions.

During the meeting, Annika Annerby Jansson, President the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions and President of Skåne region (SE) underlined that Cohesion Policy is “a vital component of EU integration” and must remain “an investment policy for all of Europe’s regions” rather than becoming “a redistributive policy between countries”.

The CPMR President also welcomed the innovations introduced for the 2014 – 2020 period and the emphasis on results. “It is essential that we measure the policy not on the basis of how much funding has been spent, but rather on the actual impact on growth and jobs in the regions”, she stated.

Speaking to the President of the EU Commission, Annika Annerby Jansson also referred to the added complexity of this policy, which is often quite difficult for Regional authorities to manage: “Perhaps it would be worth thinking about rewarding regions that are investing structural funds well, by lightening their administrative load in terms of programme management and controls”, she declared.

These elements, amongst others, will be discussed on 25-26 September in Umeå (SE), at the CPMR’s 42nd General Assembly, where peripheral and maritime delegates will present a statement addressing the new European Commission and the recently elected European Parliament.

Sep 09

CPMR AT THE COHESION FORUM: THE CENTRE OF EUROPE IS MORE RESILIENT THAN REGIONS AT ITS PERIPHERY

The CPMR was widely represented at the Cohesion Forum, which took place on 8-9 September 2014 in Brussels, firstly by its President Annika Annerby Jansson, President of the Regional Council of Skåne (SE) taking part in the panel “Delivering quality: how to achieve better performance?”. Enrico Rossi, President of Tuscany (IT) and Member of the CPMR Political Bureau spoke alongside her. Furthermore, Jane Hutt, the Welsh Finance Minister (UK) presented her views during the session on “Improving Governance” while Alberto Núñez Feijóo, President of Galicia (ES) gave his contribution on the discussion on the “Future of Cohesion policy”, particularly in the post 2020 period. Erik Bergkvist, President for the Regional Executive Committee of Västerbotten and Drew Hendry, Leader of the Highland Council, were also active contributors to the panel debates.

The main messages that the CPMR flagged up revolved around the idea that the crisis has exacerbated the difference in development between the centre and periphery. “The centre of Europe is more resilient than the countries and regions at the periphery of Europe, while the central parts of European countries are more resilient than their outlying regions. These new trends require a change in EU Cohesion policies in the long term, most notably Cohesion and Transport policy.” Annika Annerby Jansson affirmed to participants.

During her speech, the CPMR President also suggested that the “partnership principle should become part of the ex-ante conditionality” and supported the idea of results orientation, “but bearing in mind the additional bureaucratic burden which may require a rethink in terms of lightening auditing and reporting requirements for regions that are spending the funds well”.

President Enrico Rossi explained how the economic downturn had affected public investments in Tuscany (IT) and proposed to exclude ESI Funds co-financing from the Stability and Growth Pact limitations, in order to ensure a consistent level of public investment, thereby relaunching growth in the European regions. “Structural funds should not be subject to the Stability and Growth Pact: for instance, in Tuscany they amount to almost 1 billion euros’ worth of investment”, he stated.

Jane Hutt, the Welsh Finance Minister (UK) underlined that “Wales had been a major beneficiary of Structural Funds since 2000: in the 2007-13 period alone, they helped us create over 9,000 enterprises and 28,000 jobs, and helped nearly 61,000 people into work and over 180,000 more to gain qualifications. On the next programming period, Jane Hutt believes that “structural Funds should continue to be made available to the poorest regions in the EU, irrespective of the GDP per capita of the Member States in which they are located.”

In line with the other CPMR representatives, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, President of Galicia, emphasized that “cohesion is a success story for the EU, without it Europe would be weaker. For the future, he insisted “on focusing more on communication infrastructure, such as high speed broadband”.

After the Cohesion Forum, the CPMR published its analysis on the 6th Cohesion report, which will be presented officially at its General Assembly taking place on 25-26 September 2014 in Umeå, Sweden.

Sep 09

UMEÅ AWAITS YOU!

As the Swedish city of Umeå celebrates a year as European capital of culture, it will also play host to the 42nd General Assembly of the CPMR on 25-26 September at the invitation of Erik Bergkvist, President of Region Västerbotten.

Furthermore, the CPMR’s main annual conference coincides with the new term of office of the recently elected European Parliament and the future appointed European Commission. Therefore, a set of new key political messages will be delivered, focusing on territorial cohesion, accessibility and maritime issues.

The work will start with a session on the future of Regional Policy. The CPMR has launched a broad reflection process on the indicators used to determine national allocations of ESI funds for the post 2020 period. We acknowledged that the crisis has exacerbated the difference in development between the centre and the periphery. Particularly, the centre of Europe is more resilient than the countries and regions located at the periphery of Europe, while the central parts of European countries are more resilient than their outlying regions. These new trends require a change in EU cohesion policies in the long term, most notably Cohesion and Transport Policy.

Accessibility will be the subject of the second session. Delegates will debate on the issue of decentralising European transport global gateways, trying to identify challenges and opportunities for maritime regions. The relation between maritime transport and sustainability and a possible role for Regions in reconciling these two aspects will also be the focus of this session.

Maritime affairs will be discussed in a further session that will be shaped into different topics of the Integrated Maritime Policy. Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Maritime Industries and Marine Energy, Blue Biotechnologies and Maritime Safety will be addressed in the different CPMR members’ speeches.

Macro-Regions and Sea Basin Strategies for a better European integration” will be the main subjects of the fourth session, where speakers concerned by different macro-regional strategies will focus on possible synergies and exchanges of best practices.

During the last thematic session, delegates from Peripheral Maritime Regions will be invited to debate on the EU’s 2030 energy and climate goals. Particularly, the role of Regions in policies on energy efficiency and renewable sources will be underlined.

As usual, different speakers from the European Commission and the European Parliament are expected to attend the Umeå General Assembly. These guests will be the first witnesses of a Political Statement that the CPMR has decided to address to the new Commission and Parliament with the aim of defining and setting in motion a long term work programme. This document will replace the usual Final Declaration which is normally discussed and adopted during the CPMR General Assemblies.

Last but not least, after the one-year mandate of Annika Annerby Jannson, President of Skåne, the CPMR Political Bureau will elect a new President to lead the Conference. The new President will play a crucial role in the current political situation in which the economic and social crisis seems to be dragging on indefinitely, and where nationalist and anti-European movements are more present in the European Parliament, calling, more than ever before, for greater solidarity and a strong Europe.

 Register here for the CPMR General Assembly

Sep 09

TEN-T: 320 million euros to close the 2007-2013 programming period

In the last Calls of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Programme, the European Commission selected a total of 106 projects that will benefit from over €320 million in EU support. The 106 selected projects will use the EU’s financial support to bring forward the completion of the TEN-T network as well as studying innovative ways of reducing the transport sector’s carbon footprint. In this regard, there are 15 projects focusing on Motorways of the Sea (MoS) receiving a total of €78.10 million in funding.

These last TEN-T selection decisions pave the way for the first Calls for Proposals which will be issued under the transport part of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) in September 2014.

More information at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-888_en.htm

Sep 09

THE NORTH SEA COMMISSION IS RENEWED

Tom-Christer Nilsen is the new President of the CPMR North Sea Commission. Mayor of Hordaland (NO) since 2011, he has been in politics since 1987 and he has been a member of Hordaland County Council since 1995.

Before becoming a full-time politician he worked at the Bergen Airport, for Avinor, a state-owned limited company that operates most of the civil airports in Norway.

Tom-Christer Nilsen was educated at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (MBA) but he has also a University Degree in Public Administration.

He resides in Askøy.

The CPMR North Sea Commission has also a new Secretariat. Kate Clarke from Hordaland has been appointed Executive Secretary and she will be assisted by Camilla Løvaas Stavnes from Rogaland County Council.

The new address of the North Sea Commission is:

Hordaland fylkeskommune – Postbox 7900 – 5020 Bergen- Norway.

E-mail: nsc@northsea.org

Telephone +47 5523 9532

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