Nearly 400 participants met on 25 and 26 June at La Coruña in Spain at the “1st Congress on Smart Cooperation” organised by the CECICN.
A lot of personalities were present: Michel Delebarre, President of COTER, Committee of the Regions and president of the MOT, Per Bødker Andersen, President of the CECICN and President of the Union of the Baltic Cities, Carlos Negreira, Mayor of A Coruña, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, Regional President of Galicia, Marta Fernández Currás, Spanish Secretary of State for budget and expenditure, Ann-Sofi Backgren, AEBR Vice-President, Ana Miranda, MEP, Representative of the Parliamentary Committee on Regional Development, José Palma Andrés, Director of European Territorial Cooperation, DG REGIO and Henrik Morch, Head of Unit, DG MARKT.
In his address, Michel Delebarre summed up the issues of the conference: “We know that the current European and international context is one troubled by the debt crisis.” “I have the deep conviction that the response to this crisis is more Europe, more cooperation between cities and regions across borders”. In addition to the need for a sufficient budget for the European cohesion policy, he emphasized the importance of finding mechanisms to allow for “a greater association of local stakeholders”: “We need a Europe built on its territories”.
Discussions showed that the challenges that Europe is facing cannot be solved without a sustained “cooperation”, and that the message has been brought to all levels (European, national, regional and local): it is essential to place the European territorial cooperation at the heart of the EU 2020 strategy, the revival of single market and cohesion policy itself defined as “vital” to get out of the crisis.
José Durão Barroso, president of the European Commission, confirmed in a video message the increase in the budget for the cohesion policy for the next programming period, a sum of 12 billion euros. It will be debated by the Member States in the autumn.