Progressives Call for a Sustainable Future that Begins in Europe’s Cities and Regions

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament together with the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions are launching a new initiative aimed at creating a network of progressive cities and regions promoting sustainable development and a just transition for all.

A press conference will be hosted on Wednesday 10 April at 14:00, at the European Committee of the Regions (Room JDE52, 5th floor), in the presence of Constanze Krehl, S&D Group REGI Committee Coordinator; Catiuscia Marini, PES Group President and President of the Umbria Region (Italy); Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions, and Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim (Germany) and member of the PES Group.

Ahead of the European elections and in view of the future debate on the Multiannual Financial Framework and the future of European funds, the two progressive groups join forces to put pressure on the European institutions and national governments to make cohesion policy the main investment policy for sustainable development at local level.

The initiative is part of the call to action for a radically different Europe based on the Report of the Independent Commission for Sustainable Equality and follows the Appeal launched by the two groups in February 2019 “No Places and No People Left Behind.”

Constanze Krehl MEP, S&D spokesperson on regional policy, said:

“Cohesion policy is a very successful instrument to invest directly in the region. Therefore, we are fighting for a budget where all regions can get funding. We have to ensure that what we achieved through cohesion policy in the past years is not at risk through growing inequalities and a divide within the Union.

“Cohesion policy as an instrument of solidarity is of critical importance for the future of Europe. One in three euros spent by the EU is invested in EU regions and cities. It is money well-spent as it supports important projects to improve the wellbeing of our citizens. We Progressives call for maintaining the funding at least at current levels and reshape cohesion policy to the new challenges of our time.

“Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, we want to help every region to become excellent – every region has something specific to bring to the table, something they do better than everybody else. Cohesion policy must foster these traditions and talents, these innovations and ideas to ensure that no people and no places are left behind.”

Catiuscia Marini, president of the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions and president of the Umbria Region (Italy), said:

“Regions and cities are Europeʼs drivers of change. It is in our territories that we found concrete solutions to the two biggest challenges facing our societies: climate change and rising inequality.

“We are launching this initiative against the background of uncertainties on the future of the EUʼs main investment tool. We want that the next EU Cohesion Policy 2021-2027 enables cities and regions to build a sustainable Europe, so that ending poverty, taking climate action, and building sustainable communities become a reality. For this, we need a revolution in the EUʼs economic governance that fully involves the local and regional levels and makes sustainable development the overarching objective.

“Europe needs a territorially-rooted economic development that is both socially progressive and sustainable in environmental terms. Progressive leaders, at local, regional, national and European level, are the ones providing answers for a just transition that leaves no one behind. With todayʼs appeal, we want to gather forces to bring together our sustainable know-how to change Europeʼs future.”