eu annual regional and local barometer, Source: CoR

EU launches its Annual Regional and Local Barometer

EU launches its Annual Regional and Local Barometer

Its first edition focuses on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and how to approach the challenges together

On 12 October 2020 Committee of the Regions (CoR) President Apostolos Tzitzikostas gave his ​​annual address on the state of the regions and cities of the European Union. His speech was part of the 140th edition of the plenary of EU’s local and regional representatives’ assembly.

Upon addressing the challenges facing cities in the context of Covid-19, the President presented the first-ever EU Annual Regional and Local Barometer. The objective of this document is to assess the current state of affairs and to help decide together how the EU must respond to the unprecedented situation that hit the continent back in February and is still dominating the agenda.

Local authorities – key actors in the post-pandemic recovery

The first edition of the EU Annual Regional and Local Barometer is already online and naturally focuses on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on EU’s regions, cities and villages. By the means of facts, figures, maps, examples and analysis, the document gives an overview of how governments at different levels have reacted to the crisis and how their communities have experienced it.

The Barometer poses five key questions and addresses a number of policy recommendations:

  • What is the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on regions and cities of the EU, and how does it differ across territories?
  • How have regions and cities faced the health, social, economic, and environmental challenges posed by the crisis? What is the state of local democracy in Europe?
  • How has the crisis affected the vision people have of the EU?
  • What EU measures have been proposed and put in place?
  • How will they help cities and regions recover?

The Barometer was at the heart of CoR President’s State of the Regions and Cities address, an essential milestone for the institution, much like the President of the European Commission's State of the European Union annual speech.

Upon presenting the Barometer, President Tzitzikostas underlined the falling revenues and increasing expenditure which are putting public finances in Europe at risk. In particular, he explained that over 90% of EU regions and municipalities expect their revenues to plummet due to the pandemic, which could lead to a collapse of public services and hamper significantly the recovery from the pandemic.

He spoke of the need to tackle social exclusion, to support local and regional governments and to review health competencies between the EU, national and local and regional level.

We want a profound democratisation process that brings the EU closer to the people”, said Tzitzikostas and invited the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen, who spoke right after him, to strengthen democratic processes together.

Finally, he underlined the need to make decisions as applicable as possible and to build the next budget of the EU and the recovery plan by respecting the needs of territories and communities.

A call that the President von der Leyen embraced, stressing on the fact that local authorities were the first line of the defence when the health crisis hit and also on the need to involve territorial actors in the recovery process. She was adamant that regions and cities will be at the core of the recovery: "NextGenerationEU's resources will therefore target the resilience of our health systems. The European funds will enable investments in new hospitals, better equipment and stronger healthcare systems and local administrations should be in the driving seat."



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