Monday 14 March 2011

Europe 2020 strategy: Regions challenge central governments

The regional and local authorities challenge the central governments of the member states of the European Union by demanding equal partnerships and ”territorial pacts” when the National Reform Programmes (NPR) are devised and implemented, in order to achieve the headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs.

Committee of the Regions (CoR)

The Committee of the Regions (CoR), the EU advisory body representing regional and local powers, wants to engage all levels of government on an equal footing through ”territorial pacts” when putting the Europe 2020 strategy (EU2020) into practice:

Europe 2020 strategy and territorial pacts: the Hungarian presidency visits the CoR (31 January 2011, press release COR/11/12)

The CoR has reiterated its demand in a letter addressed to the European Council (in French): Déclaration du Bureau Comité des régions adressée au Conseil européen de printemps 2011 (4 March 2011).

The essential EU2020 claims aare found in paragraphs 3 and 4:

3. À cette fin, le Comité des régions insiste sur la nécessité d'exiger un partenariat à multiniveaux entre pouvoirs européen, centraux, régionaux et locaux afin de renforcer l'appropriation de la stratégie Europe 2020. Nous demandons donc que les programmes nationaux de réforme soient conçus et mis en œuvre en partenariat entre les différents échelons de gouvernement, et fassent référence à la création de pactes territoriaux pour la stratégie Europe 2020, qui pourraient être mis en œuvre dans chaque État membre conformément au cadre juridique national.

4. Étant donné que le Parlement européen soutient aussi officiellement les pactes territoriaux de la stratégie Europe 2020, nous proposons que les conclusions du sommet européen de printemps fassent référence à cette proposition dans les recommandations sur la version finale et la mise en œuvre des programmes nationaux de réforme des 27 États membres.

European Commission

Commission president José Manuel Barroso supported the push by the CoR for territorial pacts:

02.12.2010 - "I need you to push member states on territorial pacts",Commission President Barroso tells CoR plenary

European Parliament

The issue has been brewing in the EU institutions for some time. Even if cohesion policy was the main theme of the resolution P7_TA(2010)0468 of 14 December 2010 on 'Good governance and EU regional policy' of the European Parliament, the EP came out in support of a ‘Territorial Pact of Local and Regional Authorities for Europe 2020’:

16.  Calls for the multi-level governance principle to be integrated into all phases of design and implementation of the EU2020 Strategy to ensure real ownership of the results by the regional and local authorities, which have to implement it; highlights in this connection the proposal for a ‘Territorial Pact of Local and Regional Authorities for Europe 2020’ to encourage regions and cities to contribute to the successful achievement of the objectives of the 2020 Strategy;

EU Council and European Council

This leaves the Council of the European Union and the European Council, both dominated by representatives of the (central) state governments.

How are they going to react?

Has anyone seen any clear responses from these intergovernmental EU institutions yet?

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Does any other EU member state have a system equal to or better than the integrated solution of the Danish parliament (Folketinget), where you find EU-Oplysningen (the EU Information Centre) and Folketingets Europaudvalg (the European Affairs Committee of the Folketing), including EU and government documents scrutinised, all in one place? How about the quality of information ahead of EU Council meetings? (Some information and links are available in English.)

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