With the recent memberships of the East Midlands Assembly (UK), Skäne (S) and Uusimaa (FIN), the CPMR began, during its annual General Assembly in Murcia, the preparatory work on the involvement of its 156 Member Regions in the new European and worldwide landscape.
Claudio Martini, President of Tuscany, was reappointed as President of the Conference for the next two years.
Together with the new Political Bureau, he will orchestrate our contribution to the meeting which the Heads of State and Governments have agreed to, in 2008-2009, to review the institutional and budgetary prospects of the European Union for the following decade.
This General Assembly has been characterised by the exceptional rate of participation by Member Regions, with 71% of them being present. 104 Presidents and Vice-Presidents led the delegations personally. Speeches by the President of the Committee of the Regions, Michel Delebarre; the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner and the State Secretary representing the six month Finnish Presidency of the EU, Antti Mykkänen, demonstrated the close involvement of the Conference in EU institutional life, as well as its dialogue and proposal capacity.
Continuing the in-depth work on the role of the Regions in globalisation launched a year ago, our Member Regions have begun to define their proposals and their expectations - to contribute to the positioning of Europe in the new XXI century world and to receive the necessary support for this active participation from the European Union. Certain challenges have already been the subject of analysis and scope for action:
- the regions contribution to the European Energy Policy, under the direction of Navarre;
- the regions participation in the European Training and Employment Policy, under the dual leadership of the Regions of Stockholm and Asturias;
- the development of the European Maritime Policy, undertaken by the Regions of Brittany and north Portugal with participation from 50 other Member Regions;
- the regions contribution to the crucial issue of innovation for the durability of our economic vitality;
- the provision of solutions to population movement, in particular irregular, initiated by the Canary Islands and the Islands Commission;
- the increase in contact between our Regions and Regions of other continents, led by the Region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and the European Commission’s Directorate of External Relations;
- the responses to climate change, through the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development, co-chaired by the Government of Euzkadi;
- the future of the Common Agriculture Policy and rural development.
All these themes entailed close cooperation with the European Commission, Parliament and Council. A summary of these approaches will be proposed during the next annual General Assembly, in Rome, at the invitation of Mr Piero Marrazzo, President of Lazio, on the 17, 18 and 19 October 2007. It will constitute the base of the proposals which the CPMR will make to the Heads of State and Governments during their meeting. It is in line with the prospect “for a long term regional policy in the European Union”, opened by Mrs Hübner, a theme which will be the subject of a joint event of the CPMR with the Spanish Government at the beginning of 2008, as suggested by Alberto Navarro, Spanish State Secretary for European Affairs.
Through this active participation, the Conference intends to emphasize the role of the Regions in the governance of the Union and the essential principle of territorial cohesion if we want to engage our fellow citizens in the pursuit of a shared and ambitious European project.
CPMR Secretary General