President of the Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz and former Governor of Salzburg Franz Schausberger
Laying out his presidency priorities, he said that the CoR will continue to analyze on the EU’s future and would fight to protect the cohesion policy. The President-elect committed to reinforcing the CoR’s ties with all of Europe’s cities and regions and strengthening relations across the EU’s institutions.
“Europe must urgently re-establish a true bond of trust with all its citizens by reinforcing policies that protect them and rethink how the EU works. Europe is rooted in its cities and regions. Being on the frontline, local and regional authorities must be given a greater say in deciding Europe’s future“, Lambertz said.
Previous CoR-President Markku Markkula, who will take over as the CoRs’ First Vice-President addressed the plenary saying: “From the halls and chambers of Brussels, Bratislava and Amsterdam to the streets of Rome, Maastricht and even Marrakesh, we have shown that the EU’s renewal and rebuilding citizens trust begins with increasing collaboration and partnership between European regions and cities.“
Markkula after serving a two and a half year term as President of CoR was now elected as First Vice-President. The election of President and First Vice-President is in keeping with the agreement made between the Committee’s two largest political parties – European People’s Party (EPP) and Party of the European Socialists (PES) – which ensures an equal share of the leadership during the five-year term of the office.
Karl-Heinz Lambertz has been a PES-member of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) since 2001 and held numerous government ministerial posts between 1990 and 1999 before being elected its Minister-President (1999-2014). He was then President of the German-speaking Community Parliament until 2016.
“Supporting start-ups locally to scale-up internationally”
Supporting innovative entrepreneurship and dismantling the obstacles to its development through improved access to finance and the single market, better connections between regional entrepreneurial ecosystems and raising awareness about the need to give failed but honest entrepreneurs a second chance are the objectives of an opinion drafted by Tadeusz Truskolaski, Mayor of the Polish City Białystok. The opinion was adopted during CoR plenary session on 12th July.
The opinion of Mr. Truskolaski therefore suggests to create new opportunities through:
- Creating a start-up visa and a catalogue of conditions enabling a safe use of qualified intellectual and financial capital from third countries
- Additional funding for start-ups to develop and protect intellectual property rights
- Expanding the Enterprise Europe Network’s (EEN) range of services including advice on scaling up and cooperating more with local business incubators, science and technology parks
- Creating a separate instrument dedicated to networking projects in less-developed regions
- Encouraging new public procurement procedures exploiting the potential of start-ups and scale-ups
- Establishing a European venture capital fund of funds
- Creating innovation brokers linking buyers interested in innovative public procurement with innovative companies and helping them to access venture capital
- Increasing the budget for COSME, the EU’s main instrument supporting the competitiveness of SMEs
- Looking into the opportunities of and a regulatory framework for crowdfunding platforms
“SMEs will succeed through smart regulation”
SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) access to public procurement, the Single Market and finance, SME-friendly VAT and taxation rules and striking a better balance between SME needs and labour, consumer and environmental protection are critical factors behind SME success in Europe. The “smart regulation for SMEs” opinion of the CoR rapporteur Christian Buchmann (Member of the Styrian Parliament) was adopted during the CoR plenary session on 12th July.
SMEs are the main engines for growth and jobs in Europe, creating two out of three jobs and generating more than half of Europe’s economic production. Nevertheless regulation doesn’t always take into account the SME-specific circumstances, thus hampering local economic growth and innovation.
“An SME-friendly regulatory environment is an essential precondition for establishing and developing successful businesses and generating more jobs and growth in Europe“, said rapporteur Christian Buchmann.