Upcoming recovery package and MFF should support municipalities and regions
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear: local and regional governments are playing a crucial role in implementing and monitoring the necessary measures to tackle the crisis. With revenue sources in steep decline and expenses skyrocketing, municipalities and regions need to be specifically targeted under the European Union’s proposed recovery plan.
More than ever, the EU needs a robust budget, both for the immediate recovery and to invest in future generations. This has been clearly voiced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and is backed up by the joint proposal of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to provide a €500 billion recovery fund to modernise the European economy.
The European institutions and national governments must closely involve municipalities, regions and their representative associations in the implementation of the recovery fund. As the OECD states in its recent study on the territorial impact of COVID-19, coordination mechanisms and shared responsibilities across all levels of government are essential to ensuring a coherent and effective response.
Decentralised cooperation will contribute to the EU’s international engagements
Municipalities and regions are also well-placed to contribute to the EU’s international development policies, if supported by the right tools, notably the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). “Local and regional governments’ actions with partner countries to limit the spread of COVID-19 show once again their central role beyond our borders”, said Tine Soens, Municipal Councillor for Kortrijk (Belgium) and PLATFORMA Spokesperson for International Cooperation. “By financing decentralised cooperation between towns and regions, the EU’s long-term budget can foster a swift recovery and resilient societies worldwide.”
The future EU budget must be agreed as soon as possible and ideally before the end of the year. Any further delay would jeopardise the security of many planned EU projects and negatively impact municipalities, regions, SMEs, workers and an already vulnerable population.
(Read the full article on CEMR website)