EU Regions and cities start building an Alliance for the Future of Cohesion Policy

European Committee of the Regions - 5/18/2017 4:05:00 PM

In view of future negotiations of the EU budget, the European Committee of the Regions join forces with territorial associations and call all relevant actors at EU, national, regional and local level to build an Alliance for a strong and ambitious cohesion policy after 2020.
New emerging priorities such as defence, security and border control, and the impact of Brexit on the EU budget risk jeopardising the future of the most powerful investment policy for the 27, worth euros454bn until 2020. This is why at the CoR, today, the idea of a new open alliance was launched.

The aim of the Alliance is to cast light on the added value and effectiveness of cohesion policy over the last decade, ensuring that decisions on the next EU budget take into account the voice of hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries from regional and local authorities, SMEs, NGOs, schools, universities, cultural organisations, etc.

Following the recent adoption of its opinion on "The Future of Cohesion Policy beyond 2020" and in view of the forthcoming 7th Cohesion Forum at the end of June, the Committee opened, together with leading territorial associations, a realistic debate which aims to directly address some of the criticisms raised against cohesion policy, while intensifying collaboration among all supporters.

" Cohesion policy is not a charity, is an obligation. EU citizens in our regions and cities need it to be stronger, easier and more effective. This why, after adopting our opinion we work on a wide Alliance for a strong Cohesion Policy post 2020 ", said CoR rapporteur Michael Schneider, State Secretary of Saxony-Anhalt and President of the CoR's EPP Group, adding that: " This is no PR stunt but a wide mobilisation open to cities, regions, territorial associations, central governments, EU institutions, universities, SMEs and civil society".

" Investments through cohesion policy have helped to make our cities more liveable and inclusive " said Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent and president of EUROCITIES, stressing that: " It is a strong expression of European solidarity and has great potential to show the benefits of Europe to our citizens. For a stronger policy in the future, we need to see cities directly involved in strategic investment decisions related to the structural funds. This is vital to ensure that funding matches local needs, to strengthen local ownership and make the implementation of funding more efficient. "

On behalf of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Carola Gunnarsson, Mayor of Sala, and spokesperson on cohesion policy, pointed out that: " Cohesion policy is an instrument that demonstrates to the people that the EU cares about them and that all levels of government can team up to tackle current challenges. Giving up cohesion policy would mean the EU would deprive the European project of much of its substance. Through this alliance, mayors and regional leaders want to keep a strong cohesion policy that is able to respond to our citizens' needs. "

The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) was represented by Erik Bergkvist, President of the Regional Executive Committee of Västerbotten (SE), who said: " Europe's territories face different challenges, including geographic, environmental and social constraints, and there cannot be a one-size-fits-all European solution. This is why a Cohesion policy with a stronger territorial dimension is needed to achieve EU objectives of economic, social and territorial cohesion and to stimulate growth. We need a Cohesion policy based on a better recognition of Europe's territorial diversity, greater flexibility for certain geographical regions, a place-based approach, and synergies between different levels of governance. Only then can Cohesion policy release the potential of all European regions. "

"There is a growing movement of engagement needed in favour of cohesion policy coming from nearly every member states", said CoR President, Markku Markkula, inviting relevant stakeholders to join forces: " As the tough future EU budget negotiations commence, our Committee is ready to bring these voices to be heard in Brussels. This is why we want an alliance in favour of cohesion open to all those who believe in EU fundamental values like solidarity and partnership. "

For more information:

Infographic on the CoR opinion the future of Cohesion Policy

CoR studies on the future of Cohesion Policy

Evaluations of the 2007-2013 programming period

EU Cohesion policy open data portal

President Markkula statement on the 25 April General Affairs Council on Cohesion

European Parliament REGI Committee resolution on Cohesion Policy post 2020

EUROCITIES statement on the future cohesion policy
A new Policy paper will be published ahead of the 7th Cohesion Forum.

Council of European Municipalities and Regions position papers on cohesion policy

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) Position on the Principles for Cohesion Policy post 2020 .
A Policy Paper on the Future of Cohesion Policy will be formally adopted at the Political Bureau in Stavanger in June 2017.

Pierluigi Boda
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European Committee of the Regions

The European Committee of the Regions is the voice of regions and cities in the European Union.

350 members - regional and locally elected representatives from the 28 EU countries.
6 commissions covering competences in the following policy areas based on the EU Treaties:
- Employment, vocational training, economic and social cohesion, social policy, health.
- Education and culture.
- Environment, climate change, energy.
- Transport and trans-European networks.
- Civil protection and services of general interests.

6 plenary sessions a year.
More than 50 opinions a year on EU legislation.
More than 40 stakeholders' consultations each year.
More than 300 events a year.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas

Apostolos Tzitzikostas was elected as President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) in febbruary 2020 after serving as President of the Greek delegation and Vice president of the Committee since july 2017. He is also Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Apostolos Tzitzikostas was born on September 2, 1978. He studied Government and International Relations at Georgetown University, in Washington DC. After graduating in 2000, he had his first working experience at the Office of the President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States Congress. In 2002 he obtained a Masters Degree on European Public Policy and Economics from the University College of London. Following his studies, he created his own company on the field of production, processing and standardization of dairy products, based on organic standards.

In 2007, he was elected Member of the Greek Parliament with the Nea Demokratia Party (EPP) in the First District of Thessaloniki. In the Regional Elections of November 2010 he was elected Vice-Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia and Head of the Metropolitan Area of Thessaloniki. On the Regional Elections of May 2014 he was elected Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia, and on the Regional Elections of May 2019 was re-elected Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia. On November 2019 he was elected President of the Association of Greek Regions.​​

Since 2015 he is a Member of the European Committee of the Regions. In July 2017, he was elected Head of the Greek Delegation and Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions. He fluently speaks English and French and his articles are regularly being published in Greek and foreign newspapers and magazines.