The Presidency of the AER met in Strasburg today and expressed its deep concern about the future of cohesion policy in the new Europe. While the Barroso Commission has just announced an ambitious initiative in order to re-launch growth and job creation in Europe, many Member States are lobbying for that the EU budget be limited to 1% of the EU GNP for 2007-2013 programmation.
'If the Union wants to build a credible European project endorsed by its citizens, who will very soon vote on the Treaty establishing a Constitution in many states, it must give itself the means of its own ambitions' said Riccardo Illy, President of the AER. 'The Commission's proposal to increase the EU budget to 1,24% is considered by our organisation to be the lowest level acceptable in order to meet the challenges of enlargement' he added.
The AER believes that a minimum of 0,41% of EU GNP is necessary in order to adequately meet, in terms of economic, social and territorial cohesion, the needs of an enlarged Union and the priorities of the Lisbon Strategy. It therefore calls for Heads of States and Governments to make a wise decision and adopt the appropriate measures for future regional and cohesion policies as proposed in the financial perspectives for 2007-2013 submitted by the European Commission.
'As President of the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, which is both a border and a peripheral region of the EU, I can appreciate the role played by the Region/EU partnership in stimulating private investments, the creation and innovation of SMEs and the building of our own research centres. We are today a competitive and innovative region, as are many of the other regions that have benefited from the Structural Funds. EU competitiveness could be achieved only at this price' concluded President Illy.
Klaus Klipp, Secretary General, Agnès Ciccarone, Executive Secretary for Committee C 'Regional Policies' - email@example.com - or Estelle Desgouttes, Assistant - firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel: +33 3 88 22 74 37 or 38 - Web site: www.a-e-r.org.