‘Enabling investment in cities and regions must have priority over ideological stalemate on macro-economic conditionality’, stresses Karl-Heinz Lambertz

Opening session of the 2013 Open Days, European Parliament, 07 October 2013

The President of the PES Group in the CoR, Karl Heinz Lambertz, represented today the Group at the opening session of the 11th edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities (OPEN DAYS), debating the future of the EU’s cohesion policy. Amongst the keynote speakers of the opening session were the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn.

In reply to President Barroso’s speech, President Lambertz strongly criticised the persisting stalemate on macro-economic conditionality – an austerity-only measure which the entire CoR and the European Parliament have been firmly opposing – and which causes serious delays in the programming of the new financial period.  “Even the IMF has admitted that macro-conditionality does not work. It raises profound legal questions and creates uncertainty for investments. The Council has manoeuvred the negotiations into an ideological cul-de-sac and impedes the regions’ and cities’ ability to create rapidly jobs and growth”, he pointed out. 

The President also stressed the need to urgently clarify the EU rules applicable to state aid for EU co-funded infrastructure projects, which would allow for a more efficient use of these funds. 

This year’s OPEN DAYS, co-organised by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions  under the title “Europe’s cities and regions taking off for 2020“, are held at a crucial moment: the 2013-2013 cohesion policy programmes come to their end and – following the decision on the EU budget 2014-2020 and the respective cohesion policy regulations to be adopted before the end of the year – the preparation of 28 Partnership Agreements for the Member States and about 320 programmes covering all regions and worth about EUR 325 billion is on its way.

It is worth noting that within the framework of the Open Days, the PES Group will hold on 9 October a workshop on Corporate Social Responsibility: Cities and Regions unlocking the CSR potential.