Catalan MEP Jordi Solé has called on the European Commission to ensure that regional and local governments are at the heart of Europe’s plans for economic recovery following the Covid-19 crisis.
The EU is putting together a Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) of some 672.5 billion euros to help the continent recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
MEPs on Thursday heard a statement to the European Parliament from the European Commission about the preparation of national recovery plans.
In the debate that followed, Jordi Solé, President of the EFA Group in the European Parliament, reminded the Commission that whilst consultation with regional authorities is an obligation in drafting the plans, this was not taking place on a general basis.
The Catalan MEP emphasised that sub-state, regional and local authorities are best placed to understand local needs, and have long experience of successfully managing EU funds. As such they will be key to successful preparation and delivery of the recovery plans.
Speaking in the plenary, Jordi Solé said:
“As we are entering the final phase of the preparation of the Recovery Plans, we need to emphasize again the need to involve regional and local governments in putting them together.
“It is indeed an obligation established in the RRF Regulation that Member States report on the consultation with regional authorities and other relevant civil society organizations. We know this consultation is not taking place on a general basis. So, we expect the Commission to make sure that sub-state governments are having their say.
“Not only in the preparation phase of the Recovery Plans, but also in their implementation, Sub-state authorities, especially those regional governments with significant powers, know better than anyone else the needs of their local economies, businesses and citizens, and they have a long and successful experience in managing EU funds and programs. Some of them, like the Catalan government, even proposed their own ambitious plans.
“Ensuring a shared governance of the recovery and resilience plans will allow for more efficiency as well as further transparency.”