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Committee of the Regions (CoR)

CoR president reaffirms local and regional authorities' support for Ukraine's EU integration and condemns violence




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186819720Leading a delegation of members of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) in Kiev today (31 Jan uary), CoR President Ramón Luis Valcárcel has strongly condemned the escalation of violence and expressed sympathy to the families of the victims. Meeting with civil society representatives from Maidan Square, he voiced support to the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom and human rights.

As the situation deteriorated in Kiev today, the CoR delegation cancelled its meetings scheduled with Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister and senior officials, reflecting its condemnation of the government's recent actions: "The EU is on the side of democracy and freedom. There is no room for exceptions," Valcárcel stressed.

Referring to the government's decision to abandon political and free-trade agreements with the EU last November, Valcárcel said: "For many people in Ukraine, European integration is more than a commercial agreement or a simple piece of paper: it represents a vision for the future, a project offering Ukrainians a perspective of stability, peace, democracy, solidarity and respect for their rights and freedoms.


"Given the current events and protests, the Ukrainian civil society needs the support of the European Union now more than ever. We need to keep all channels of dialogue open at all levels of government, encouraging Ukraine's government to achieve its declared objective of European integration and reiterating that the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is still possible."

The CoR president further echoed the EU's concerns over recent legislation which restricts Ukrainian citizens' fundamental rights, including controls on the rights of assembly and on the freedom of speech and media. He also emphasized the need to promote local and regional government's autonomy, as well as financial independence in Ukraine, as a means to achieving much-needed democratic reform.

The CoR delegation* led by President Valcárcel also met with Ukrainian members of the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP), as well as representatives of Ukrainian regions and cities' associations. The delegation recalled the conclusions of the last Eastern Partnership Summit held in Vilnius which provide a platform for cooperation between local and regional authorities and explicitly recognise the role of local democracy in the EU's Eastern Partnership.


The CoR President and delegation are also due to meet with Evgeniya Tymoshenko, daughter of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister, currently still imprisoned.

* The CoR delegation is composed of Arnoldas Abramavičius (LT/EPP), Mayor of Zarasai District Municipality, Mick Antoniw (PES/UK), Member of the National Assembly for Wales, Dr. István Sértő Radics (ALDE/HU), Mayor of Uszka (Uszka polgármestere), Uno Siberg (EA/EE), Member of Kose Rural Municipality Council and President of the EA Group in the CoR, and Daiva Matoniene (ECR/LT), Deputy Mayor of Šiauliai and Deputy-Minister for the Environment of the Lithuanian government.


The Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) was established by the Committee of the Regions in 2011 to bring a regional and local dimension into the EU's Eastern Partnership. CORLEAP brings together 36 regional and local elected representatives from the EU and the EU's Eastern Partnership countries, including Ukraine.

More information

'Eastern Partnership: role of local democracy and territorial cooperation in achieving policy reforms highlighted by Heads of State and Government' (press release of 29/11/2013)

Committee of the Regions (CoR)

UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals should guide the European Recovery



European local and regional leaders are calling for the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs) to be put back on the top of the European Union's agenda, asking the EU institutions and member states to ensure their implementation by 2030. In an opinion adopted today by its plenary, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of sustainable development and that SDGs can help move towards a coherent, holistic vision within Next Generation EU. However, a recent CoR study points out a lack of explicit and transparent reference to the UN SDGs in many national recovery and resilience plans.

The ongoing pandemic and its expected economic, social and environmental consequences show a clear urgency to support the "localisation" of the SDGs in order to build back in a fairer way and avoid future health crises. SDGs should help Member States' economies recover and deliver the digital and green transitions on the ground. However, a recent study commissioned by the CoR sounded the alarm about the lack of involvement of regions and cities in national recovery plans, while in many cases clear references to SDGs are missing, reducing the opportunity for a common understanding of the plans.

Ricardo Rio (PT/EPP), rapporteur and Mayor of Braga, said: "The SDGs almost disappeared from the EU narrative: there is no overarching strategy and no effective mainstreaming or coordination of SDGs in the European Commission's internal governance. This is all the more striking as in parallel the commitment of local and regional authorities on SDGs kept increasing. The preliminary results of our OECD-CoR survey clearly show that local and regional authorities are well engaged in a sustainable recovery, based on SDGs. 40% of respondents have been using them before the pandemic and now started to use them to address the recovery, while 44% are planning to do so to recover from COVID-19. This is a big opportunity for all policy-makers to come back stronger from this crisis and I will, together with the OECD, actively advocate for it at EU level."


The OECD estimates that 65% of the 169 targets of the 17 SDGs cannot be reached without involvement of, or coordination with, local and regional authorities. Moreover, the results of a new CoR-OECD joint survey show that 60% of local and regional governments believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more conviction that the SDGs can help take a more holistic approach for recovery. Therefore, the CoR regrets that the SDGs have progressively lost ground in the EU narrative, with a lower profile in EU policy-making jeopardising their chances of implementation by 2030.

CoR members urge European leaders to be ambitious and consistent in their domestic and foreign policy agendas and to declare with one clear purpose that the EU must be a leader and visible champion in the implementation of the SDGs at all governmental levels. The opinion points out that Sustainable Development Goals should provide a coherent framework for all EU policies and help align the priorities of all funding programmes. Nevertheless, sometimes the link between the UN objectives and main European initiatives like the new industrial strategy appear tenuous. Moreover, it calls on the European Commission to use the next Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2022 to formally reintegrate SDGs into the European Semester, better link SDGs and the Recovery and Resilience Facility (the cornerstone of Next Generation EU), and explicitly affirm SDGs as a way for the EU to shape a sustainable recovery.

Local and regional leaders ask the European Commission to renew the SDG multi-stakeholder platform or create another dialogue platform with clout and structured follow-up to foster expertise from all the different stakeholders from public and private institutions regarding the 2030 Agenda and to advise the Commission directly.


The rapporteur Mr Rio delivered the call to prominent EU policy makers already on Tuesday, when he took the floor at the Brussels Economic Forum 2021, the flagship annual economic event of the European Commission, alongside President Von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


The CoR and the OECD jointly carried out a survey between May and Mid-June 2021 on SDGs as a framework for COVID-19 recovery in cities and regions. The survey included 86 responses from municipalities, regions and intermediary entities in 24 EU countries, plus a few other OECD & non-OECD countries. Preliminary findings were presented on Tuesday during the fourth edition of the Cities and Regions for the SDGs roundtable, a two-day online event that focused on the SDGs as a framework for long-term COVID-19 recovery strategies in cities and regions. The document is available here.

The CoR adopted a first opinion on 'Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a basis for a long-term EU strategy for a sustainable Europe by 2030' in 2019 by rapporteur Arnoldas Abramavičius (LT/EPP) Member of Zarasai District Municipal Council.

In November 2020 the European Commission published the staff working document Delivering on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – A comprehensive approach.

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Committee of the Regions (CoR)

Migration: Commission and Committee of the Regions agree a partnership on integration



The Commission and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) agreed to join forces to develop a new partnership to increase support for the work on integration performed by EU cities and regions. Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and Committee of the Regions President Apostolos Tzitzikostas, have announced the upcoming partnership at the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions.

Commissioner Johansson said: “Integration happens in every village, city and region where migrants live, work, study and take part in activities such as sports. Local and regional authorities deliver essential services in health care, housing and education. They organise sport and cultural activities where newcomers meet people and make friends. I look forward to work more closely with the Committee of the Regions to support cities and regions in their integration efforts”.

President Tzitzikostas said: “Local and regional authorities are in the frontline to provide integration and other services to newly arrived migrants as well as to support their inclusion. While local authorities have put in place many successful and innovative practices for integration and for promoting a positive narrative, they still face challenges in accessing funding, data and knowledge for their integration measures and programs, in particular in towns and rural areas”.

The partnership will build on the well-established co-operation between the Commission and the European Committee of the Regions under the Cities and Regions for Integration initiative, which was launched by the European Committee of the Regions in 2019 to offer a political platform for European mayors and regional leaders to share information and showcase positive examples of integration of migrants and refugees. The statement is available online.

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Committee of the Regions (CoR)

Over 600 politicians join #EURegionsWeek to debate future of Europe and regional policy



On 7 October, the European Week of Regions and Cities will kick off its 17th edition in Brussels to discuss how cohesion policy can help to make Europe greener, more inclusive and smarter. Opened by a high-level debate on the future of Europe, the Week will hold nearly 400 events including a high-level conference on the transformation of coal regions. On 8-9 October, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will also hold its #CoRplenary session with its members debating the future of EU cohesion policy with the European Parliament's Regional Development Chair Younous Omarjee, the future long-term EU budget with Commissioner Oettinger, and the ecological and digital transition with Finland's Minister for European Affairs, Tytti Tuppurainen.
17th European Week of Regions and Cities, 7-10 October, #EURegionsWeek

#EURegionsWeek will once again provide a unique opportunity to better understand how regions and cities are using EU funds to improve citizens' daily life and how cohesion funds are making Europe greener, more inclusive and smarter. The annual conference co-organised by the CoR and European Commission is the largest event on regional development in Europe. This year's edition will gather over 9,000 participants including scholars, public administrators, experts and more than 600 local, regional, national and European politicianswill take part in nearly 400 workshops and debates, exhibitions and networking opportunities about the different aspects of cohesion policy.


·         7 October, 2.30pm-4.30pm (Watch live) – Opening session: Regions and cities, pillars of the EU's future

Over 100 young elected politicians will attend the opening session and debate the future of European Union together with Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions, Klara Dobrev, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

·         8 October, 9am-10.30am, (Watch live) – REGI/COTER meeting on “The state of play of negotiations on the future Cohesion policy beyond 2020"

Members of the CoR and European Parliament will debate the ongoing negotiations on the EU budget 2021-2027 and the cohesion policy package. In this context, EU regions and cities can play a key role in building a strong cohesion policy for the future, by emphasizing the achievements of the policy over the current programming period.


·         9 October, 2.30pm-5.00pm, (Watch live) – Coal Regions in Transition High-Level Conference

Cutting dependence on fossil fuels and supporting coal-producing reigons make the clean energy transition vital in the fight against climate change. As well as national support, EU cohesion policy with its shared management will contribute to supporting the regions making the energy transition. During this event, EU ministers, MEPS, regional politicians and other high-level representatives from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Spain will also share their views on how best to support coal regions make the transition to a carbon-free future.

See the dedicated media programme; You can find a full list of the events on the webpage;
You can also download pictures and the recordings of the event for free.

European Committee of the Regions' Plenary Session
7-9 October, #CoRplenary, (Watch live)

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is the EU's assembly of local and regional leaders representing the interests of cities and regions. The CoRs 350 members will gather in Brussels to debate and adopt a range of opinions on EU legislation and political resolutions.


·         8 October 3.15pm – EU regional development policy beyond 2020: Younous Omarjee (FR/GUE/NGL), Chair of the Committee on Regional Development of the European Parliament (REGI), will join the CoR members to debate the future of regional development in the next financing period beyond 2020.

·         8 October 4.45pm – The future EU budget: By the end of 2019 the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU is expected to present compromise figures for the EU's long-term budget 2021-27. EU regions and cities will share their increasing concerns with the EU Budget Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, and adopt a resolution

·         8 October 6pm – EU Matters for Local and Regional Authorities: CoR members will debate Brexit, insular regions and missing transport links in cross border connections

·         9 October 9.30am – Towards a digital and ecological EU: All EU regions and citizens must reap the benefit from the digital and ecological transitions that are shaping our societies. Local and regional representatives will exchange views with Finland's Minister for European Affairs, Tytti Tuppurainen, on how to tackle the digital divide and ensure cohesion and solidarity for all.

You can find the full agenda, documents and draft opinions online.

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