EMI has sent its reaction on the 5th Cohesion Policy to the European Commission. The European Commission (EC) has recently published its Fifth Cohesion Report on the reform of the cohesion policy and invites stakeholders to give their views on the future cohesion proposal. EMI´s opinion is that the new cohesion policy should strive to involve territorial actors, so that all programmes resulting from this report will be more practice-based. EMI is a strong supporter of the development of an ambitious urban agenda which identifies urban actions and separate resources for cities.
How cohesion policy can take better account of the key role of urban areas and of territories with particular geographical features in development processes and of the emergence of macro-regional strategies?
- Regarding this question, EMI agrees with the Assembly of European Regions’ (AER) assertion to involve territorial actors at all defining stages of the programmes resulting from this report. This will increase ownership and create synergies between European policy and local and regional policy and their respective instruments.
- Secondly, prioritisation in the funding schemes should be based on real problems and issues faced in practice by local and regional policy makers. This is why EMI values this open consultation; it gives local and regional practitioners the opportunity to provide the European Commission with the practical information it needs in order to better identify key programme and funding priorities. EMI works according the principle ‘research based, practice led’, this key principle for distinguishing research priorities, should also be adopted in distinguishing policy and funding priorities.
- Thirdly, the European Commission’s cohesion policy will devote more attention to innovation and sustainability. In this process, metropolitan regions should be given a key role. As the key drivers of innovation and as the places where the largest leaps related to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption can be made, metropolitan regions play a major role. The importance of acknowledging regional diversity and dividing the means accordingly is very important in enabling regions to play a suitable role in achieving goals related to innovation and sustainability.
Funds should benefit as many European citizens as possible
The incorporation of the territorial dimension to the economic
and social cohesion dimension is, in the opinion of EMI, essential,
as geographical polycentricity will play a big role in the EU’s
economic future. Also, this new approach acknowledges regional
diversity which should also lead to acknowledging diversity when
earmarking funds to different priorities. EMI feels that funds
should benefit as many European citizens as possible.
Exchange of best practices and innovative ideas between regions
Innovation, as mentioned in the report, is essential to becoming
more productive. With respect to the matter of more regional
innovation, it is stressed that regions and cities should learn
from their more innovative counterparts. Mutual learning and the
exchange of best practices and innovative ideas between regions and
cities is very important and therefore wants to stress the
important role that European, national and regional knowledge
networks play regarding this. Stimulating the exchange of
innovative ideas and good practices will give an impetus to
economic vitality of European cities and regions.
Substantial investment in solar energy and wind energy is necessary
Climate change and the environment have been given more
attention in the fifth cohesion report. As has been pointed out in
the report, a considerable effort will be needed in order to reach
the EU2020 target of 20% energy consumption from renewables. For
example, a substantial investment in solar energy and wind energy
is necessary. Future cohesion policy should contribute to these
goals. The outcomes of the testing phase of the Reference Framework
for Sustainable Cities (RFSC) should provide Europe’s cities with
guidelines on how to implement a good and working sustainability
policy, and these outcomes, in turn, could be a good starting point
for the sustainability objectives in the new cohesion policy.