During the 136th European Committee of the Regions (CoR) Plenary, that took place on 7-9 October in Brussels, regional and local leaders delivered their recommendations for the preparation of the next generation of cohesion programmes, which set the basis for cohesion policy implementation for the 2021-2027 period. In the opinion on "Recommendations for the successful design of regional development strategies beyond 2020", drafted by Adam Struzik (PL/EPP), President of Mazovia Region, the CoR recognises the urgent need to develop a long-term policy framework at EU level to replace the Europe 2020 strategy.
Development strategies are one of the core instruments for local and regional governance. These documents outline the direction of decisions and actions to define the goals and priorities of each specific region and city, in close connection with Europe's vision for development. For an effective planning of a post-2020 regional development strategy, the CoR emphasizes that it is necessary to take into account the challenges regions face and transform regional characteristics and resources towards goods and services.
Mr. Struzik said: "Strategic regional planning is the starting point for successful development. Long-term urban and rural strategies should ensure their sustainable development. They must be based on a well-prepared diagnosis and include far-reaching goals. The tool for implementing these strategies are public funds from national or regional ESIF programs. They ensure synergy between funds and entities, cooperation in functional areas, promoting a territorial approach and exploiting the potential of integrated tools".
This opinion drafted by the Rapporteur Adam Struzik (PL/EPP), suggests that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations can work as guiding principles in the development of regional or local development strategies. The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
For the success of these Regional Development Strategies, the rapporteur presents 8 recommendations that intend to ensure synergies between individual sectoral tools and the adequate involvement of stakeholders, to guarantee a bottom-up and place-based approach to economic, social and territorial development. This way it will be possible to develop appropriate solutions taking into account local needs. The European Committee of the Regions calls for:
- The development of joint strategies for functional areas and the adaptation of relevant strategies and programmes where possible;
- Making full use of the opportunities provided by the Common Provisions Regulation with a view to programming interregional or cross-border cooperation projects;
- Making also full use of potential of integrated tools such as community-led local development (CLLD) and integrated territorial investment (ITI).
However, it is also important to do not forget remote, peripheral and isolated regions and those facing particular challenges, in particular when it comes to improve the connectivity of these places and developing links between them.
The rapporteur highlights that future trends should be taken into account in order to develop effective strategies for regional development and that these strategies should focus investment in an integrated and coordinated manner. "Integrated" meaning that all levels of governance, from local to European, work together to achieve the objectives of a territory, and “coordinated" meaning that different sources of funding contribute to the same agreed territorial objectives in a complementary way.
Débora Teixeira (CoR)
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Pierluigi Boda (CoR)
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