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Dombrovskis joins local authorities' call on national governments to better involve regions and cities in preparation of national recovery plans

CoR consultation shows that the vast majority of regions and cities are excluded from the preparation of post-COVID recovery plans, despite being key in fighting the emergency. European Commission commits to take this crucial factor into account when assessing national plans.

The results of a recent consultation carried out by CoR and CEMR highlight that many EU governments are excluding regions and cities from the preparation of post-COVID recovery plans. Regional and local leaders brought their concerns to the attention of the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, during the March Plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR).

The debate on the role of regions and cities in the design, implementation and governance of national recovery plans, as well as the new Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, was followed by the presentation of the opinion on the European Trade Policy review drafted by Willy Borsus (BE/Renew Europe), Vice-President and Minister for Economy and Foreign Trade of Wallonia. The opinion will be officially adopted at the end of the plenary.

Opening the Plenary’s debate, the President of the CoR Apostolos Tzitzikostas highlighted that “t op-down receipts and centralisation would seriously undermine the impact of the EU recovery funding. We need to make sure that the key role played by regions, cities and villages on the pandemic front is duly mirrored in the governance of recovery plans as well as in the European Semester work. We welcome the European Commission’s commitment to take this crucial factor into account when assessing and adopting national plans .”

Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said: Member States are working hard to draw up Recovery and Resilience Plans. A strong regional and local ownership will be important for their success on the ground, along with support from social partners and civil society. National Plans will need to explain how the consultations with stakeholders are carried out and reflected in the proposed investment and reforms, and how they contribute to enhancing cohesion taking into account local, regional and national disparities. The involvement of regional and local authorities and stakeholders will be equally important in the implementation phase.

CoR members also discussed to what extent a reformed EU trade policy could contribute to the economic recovery. Taking stock of both external challenges, such as heightened geopolitical tensions, and internal challenges, such as the European green deal and the digital transition, they demanded an overhaul of EU trade policy in order to realign it with the EU’s overarching social and economic orientations. In order to increase the EU trade policy’s legitimacy, the CoR called for a stronger and earlier involvement of local and regional authorities as well as civil society organisations in future trade related legislative proposals.

Willy Borsus (BE/Renew Europe), Vice-President and Minister for Economy and Foreign Trade of Wallonia, said: ” In order to reinforce its position as a global leader for an open, fair, sustainable and rules-based international trading order, the EU has to thoroughly rethink its trade policy.”

Moreover, the discussion offered the opportunity for a first political exchange between local, regional and European representatives on the new Action Plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights , presented by the EU Commission two weeks ago. ” In our daily work on the pandemic frontline, we saw the health emergency become more and more of a social emergency. We therefore welcome the Action Plan for the implementation of the Social Pillar as a tool to steer investment on social cohesion, based on clear objectives to be achieved by integrating the EU, national and regional resources and policies “, said Anne Karjalainen (FI/PES), chair of the COR commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment and Culture (SEDEC).


The European CoR and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions ( CEMR ) carried out a joint consultation on the involvement of local and regional authorities in the preparation of the national Recovery and Resilience plans. The results were presented on 22 January during the meeting of the CoR’s Commission for Economic Policy. They pointed out that only a few countries took on local and regional authorities’ input, thereby threatening the successful implementation of the Recovery Plan for Europe.

More information here .

On 16 June 2020, the European Commission launched a consultation on the EU’s trade and investment policy . The consultation’s first objective was to assess how trade policy can contribute to a swift and sustainable socio-economic recovery, reinforce the EU’s competitiveness and help to promote its values and standards. The second objective was to review trade policy following a model of ” Open Strategic Autonomy .” The Open Strategic Autonomy-model will enable European businesses, workers and consumers to reap the benefits of openness while at the same time protecting them from unfair practices, and building up the EU’s resilience towards unknown future challenges. The CoR contributed to this work by submitting its draft opinion on the Commission’s Trade Policy Review.

The European Commission presented the Action Plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights on 4 March. It sets three ambitious headline targets which should guide policy decisions in the Member States and their regions to achieve the objectives of the Pillar, also by making full use of different EU funds to unlock social investment.

The new headline targets imply that by 2030 at least 78% of EU population aged 20 to 64 should be employed, at least 60% of all adults should participate in training every year and the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million.

Find the press release on the reaction to the presentation of the Action Plan here .


Matteo Miglietta

Tel. +32 (0)470 895 382


Maximilian v. Klenze

Tel. +32 2 282 2044



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