About the Regional development category

(Replace this first paragraph with a brief description of your new category. This guidance will appear in the category selection area, so try to keep it below 200 characters.)

Use the following paragraphs for a longer description, or to establish category guidelines or rules:

  • Why should people use this category? What is it for?

  • How exactly is this different than the other categories we already have?

  • What should topics in this category generally contain?

  • Do we need this category? Can we merge with another category, or subcategory?

Regional development is an overarching CEEP Topic focusing on application of various more abstract policies on the local level of Member States and Euroregions. While there are unavoidable overlaps with many different categories a focused regional development category will help putting all these aspects together.
It is also a convenient place for policies left over or unsuficiently handled by other, more traditional categories.

Examples of concrete themes:

  1. Just transition Funds in de-industrialising regions (for example Polish-German Lausitz Region)
    1.5. Investment in Less-Developed Regions to mitigate climate change (example: Southern Italy)
  2. Appropriation and mis-appropriation of EU cohesion fund money in the regional (example: Hungary)
  3. Strenghtening of the Euroregions and their institutions (example: Covid border lockdowns and the following destruction of cross-border connections)

Hi everyone, I’m Cindy, Mikulas’ policy assistant in the European Parliament, here are some ideas for our program on Regional development. Please let me know if you have some questions or comments. I will be at the call tonight to discuss it with those interested.

• Call to increase EU Cohesion and Solidarity funds budgets to help regions fight climate change and de-industrialisation;
• Support the green and digital transition of regions for sustainable economic and social growth, contributing to correct the imbalances in Europe;
• Channel Cohesion funds rather to long term investments rather than crisis management;
• Support the creation of a new EU crisis management fund (CARE proposal) to support the regions in need;
• Involve regional authorities as much as possible in the decision making process;
• Direct EU and national public funding directly to regional authorities;
• Improve the budgetary control on EU shared management funding, such as through the mandatory use of EU risk analysis databases;
• Improve transparency on end beneficiaries of public funds by urging authorities to share information on fund allocations;
• Improve transparency requirements on the implementation of local projects;
• Promote the development of transnational transport projects across European regions;
• Urge the development of network connectivity across European regions;
• Ensure the respect for climate targets and climate adjustment mechanism in the EU Common Provision Regulation for Member States and their regions;
• Promote the inclusion of community-led local development projects into the Partnership Programmes of Members States;
• Ensure compliance with the Charter of Fundamental rights, Rule of Law and the European code of conduct in Partnership Agreement for Member States and their regions;
• Secure more EU funds to develop the administrative capacity of regional authorities;
• Reduce the amount of bureaucracy needed for regional authorities to get public funds;
• Make local projects evaluation criteria more objective and transparent;
• Provide timely support to regions to deal with migration caused by the Russian war against Ukraine;
• Encourage cooperation of local and regional authorities at the EU Committee of the Regions;
• Support European regional integration, including from the Eastern Partnership countries;

Hi all! my name is Martina Janurova and I work as an assistant for Marketa in Brussels. I have few comments, mostly expanding Cindy´s suggestions with more concrete steps. Please see them below:

• Improve connections to and in less development regions by supporting development of high speed railways, high speed internet networks, or support of investment opportunities in such regions

• More than 150 millions of EU citizens lives in border regions. Border regions usually deals with different issues and problems than rest of the country (such as availability of health care or schools, depopoulation, population aging etc). It is therefore important to support cross-border cooperation and revitalisation of those regions

• support of data-based decision making, the funds and their allocation to projects should be decided on data, where possible

•to simplify or allow the possibility of using health care systems in the neighboring regions, with respect to data data protection

• to increase a pressure on EU regions to provide access to safe drinking water to all EU citizens

The current progress so far is in this Google Document (it will be moved to some better platform eventually).
Viewing, commenting and editing is allowed for everyone. I would preffer, however, that only new text be written. If you want to change anyone’s contributions, do so by commenting function.

Please find below the draft that has been approved so far, thank you for all those that participated !

"We believe regional development is crucial in promoting economic growth and improving citizen’s quality of life. Regional policy has a direct impact on people’s lives, especially since there are still large social and economic imbalances between European regions, both in the EU and non-EU countries. To create a more just and united Europe, regional development should be a priority, based on principles of equity, participation, and ecological responsibility.

Regions, and even more so border-regions, often face very specific challenges, such as environmental damages due to climate change, de-industrialisation due to economic crisis, difficulty to access healthcare and education, as well as demographic changes.

Regional development should help European regions with the green transition. In order to ensure policies are sustainable and environmentally responsible, we support the financing of projects that promote the transition to a low-carbon economy, respecting climate targets.

We also recognize the importance of the digital transition of European regions. The emphasis should be on promoting digital innovation in regional development. We therefore support connectivity projects, which provide access to digital infrastructure, such as high-speed internet and telecommunication networks, across all regions.

Because European regions are often spreading across borders, we also believe regional policies play an important role in the development of regional transport projects. Therefore, we support the deployment of transnational transport projects that improve connections to and in less development regions, such as high-speed railways.

To achieve this, we call for an increase in the EU budget for regional development to help regions reduce disparities and foster cross-border cooperation. Supporting sustainable economic and social growth of European regions should be the EU’s main investment area. The funds intended for regional development should be primarily used for long-term investments, whereas separate crisis management funds should provide timely short-term crisis support in times of need.

To allow for bottom up decision making in our societies, regional authorities should be more empowered to develop their own local policy strategies using on their unique strengths and resources. Regional authorities should also be more involved in the legislative process when it concerns their development. To this end, we encourage cooperation of local representatives through EU platforms dealing with regional policy. We also strive to direct public funds as much as possible to regional authorities for distribution to local-led initiatives.

Given the limited administrative capacity of regional authorities, we understand the need to reduce the amount of bureaucracy needed for getting access to public funds and ask for additional financing to be allocated for technical assistance to develop and report on large-scale and innovative projects. The funds and their allocation to projects should be based on concrete data to provide evidence-based decision-making.

However, this should not hamper the urgent need to improve transparency of end beneficiaries of public funds. This is crucial to avoid conflict of interests, fraud and corruption. At regional level, project evaluation criteria as well as the implementation requirements should be objective and transparent. EU funds under shared management by Member States are particularly at risk of being abused because of the lack of information shared between the regional, national and EU levels. That is why we suggest; making full use of interoperable digital tools used for budgetary control and publishing no

n-sensitive data on all public procurements, including the implementation reports on projects. Only full transparency will allow the public and the media investigators to follow the money in order to identify potential cases of abuse.

We also believe that regional development policies must be guided by the principles of social justice and inclusivity. This means that rules for the distribution of EU funds to regions should always comply with the Charter of Fundamental rights, Rule of Law and the European code of conduct. All citizens should have equal access to the benefits of regional development policies, and that these policies should be designed to reduce inequality and promote social cohesion.

Finally, regional development policies must be based on active citizen participation and democracy. This means involving citizens in the decision-making process and empowering them to shape the policies that affect their lives."

I posted the draft in a new thread, to make it easier to find and discuss it.