The Platform integrated topics of particular importance for local and regional authorities put forward by the European Committee of the Regions in its 2021 work programme: cross-border healthcare, public procurement; state aid and air quality
The F4F platform is the main instrument of the Better regulation agenda of the European Commission designed to simplify and modernise EU laws to better tackle future challenges, while cutting red tape. With 3 Chairs of commissions in the government body of the Platform and the network of Regional Hubs, the new generation of which was launched on 3 March as sub-group of the Platform, the CoR is present in the Platform at both levels of revising and evaluating existing EU legislation. It therefore represents not only the local and regional authorities but also citizens and businesses which implement EU law on daily basis. This stronger involvement in the EU law making process is the one of the achievements of the CoR work in the Task force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality.
Mark Speich (DE/EPP) , Secretary of State for Federal, European and International Affairs for the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and chair of CoR commission on Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs ( CIVEX) said: “I welcome that the Fit for Future-Platform has progressed with its decisions on work programme and rules of procedure. In particular, I appreciate very much that the Regional Hubs Network of the European Committee of the Regions is now given a formal recognition as an active part of the Platform. The regions and cities know best about the problems of citizens when it comes to the implementation of EU legislation. They will strengthen and enlarge the evidence base of the Platform’s opinions. Therefore, it is vital that the European Commission seriously pursues a bottom up process.”
Following the first plenary meeting that took place on 26 November 2020, the CoR made proposals to the draft annual work programme. The topics of public procurement legislation, in particular e-procurement aspects, ambient air quality legislation, the directive on the application on patient rights in cross-border healthcare and state aid legislation were taken up.
Anne Karjalainen (FI/PSE) , Kerava City Councillor, chair of the CoR commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) said: “As Committee of the Regions, we very much hope to feed the Fit for Future platform with a bottom-up perspective and the expertise to be found among our members and through the Committee’s RegHub network. We also expect the Fit for Future exercise to provide input for a circular approach to European legislation in policy areas of the highest political priorities such as the Green Deal and just transitions”.
Ulrika Landergren (SE/RE) , Councillor in the Swedish municipality of Kungsbacka and chair of the CoR commission for Natural Resources (NAT) commented on the Rules of procedures after the meeting: “We are satisfied that most of the CoR comments and suggestions to the Rules of Procedure (RoP) have been taken on board by the Commission, and we urge that the Platform’s deliberations be made public. I believe that opening up the Plenary meetings to the public will enhance transparency and raise awareness of the Platform’s work, and contribute to increasing understanding and public acceptance of decisions.”
The CoR’s Network of Regional Hubs (RegHub) stands ready to take up its role as subgroup of the Platform and provide implementation experience from stakeholders on the ground. Thanks to its specific status, it will be able to enrich the evidence base of the Platform opinions that are relevant to regions and cities. Moreover, the CoR and RegHub welcome the opportunity to present a future report that will collect feedback from the regional and local level, on permitting and planning requirements that obstruct essential infrastructure projects.
The Platform has more than 50 members (incl. 27 MS) and the Fit for Future Platform work programme follows the priorities of the Europe Commission 2021 annual work programme. The CoR adopted a resolution on 10 December in the CoR Plenary.
The Fit for Future Platform had its launch plenary meeting on 26 November 2020. It is a high-level expert group that help the European Commission in its efforts to simplify laws and to reduce related unnecessary administrative burden and costs. The European Commission will take into account the Platform’s opinions to ensure EU laws help, not hinder, people and business, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. The work of the Platform will focus on topics highlighted in an annual work programme. For each topic, the Platform will gather data, evidence and input on potential for simplifying and reducing unnecessary costs of specific EU laws without undermining the achievement of their objectives. The Platform will then issue opinions taking into account also digitalisation opportunities and legislative density. These efforts are part of Better regulation agenda of the European Commission.
The CoR network of Regional Hubs (RegHub) is a network of European regions and cities that evaluates the implementation of EU policies. The new generation of hubs consists of 46 dedicated ‘contact points’, 10 more than the first generation. The contact points are members of staff of a local or regional administration who collect technical feedback from stakeholders about their ‘on the ground’ implementation experience of existing EU policies. The network thus adds the local and regional perspective to EU policymaking and enlarges its evidence base.
The Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and Doing Less More Efficiently (link) was set up by the European Commission in November 2017 with following objectives:
– make recommendations on how to better apply the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality
– identify policy areas where work could be re-delegated or definitely returned to EU Member States
– find ways to better involve regional and local authorities in EU policy making and delivery
The Task Force delivered its final report in 2018 called “The new way of working” that builds upon the concept of “active subsidiary” which means to ensure that the input of the local and regional levels is fully taken into consideration in order to ensure there is adequate EU added-value at all stages of developing, adopting and implementing EU legislation.
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