Cretu: The moment to act for cohesion is now

On 23 January, the President of the Conference of Cities of the Atlantic Arc, José Maria Costa met with Corina Cretu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy. The “Cities for Cooperation” platform (C4C, Cities for Cooperation) was presented to the Commissioner, as well as a document in favour of a positive renewal of the cohesion policy and the Structural Funds.
The delegation was composed of the President of the Atlantic Cities and Mayor of Viana do Castelo, their Secretary General, Tamara Guirao, the Vice President of the Mediterranean Cities, Alfred Bosch and its Secretary General, Xavier Tiana as well as the Secretary General of the Iberian Cities, Xoan Mao and Deputy Secretary General Marta Cabanas. The network of Adriatic and Ionian cities is also adherent of this new urban platform.
During the conversation, Cretu emphasized the importance of mobilizing now for cohesion policy; while the discussion is still open. And it is the beneficiary states that must speak, both those of the East and those of the West.
The Atlantic president, who is also the leader of the Portuguese delegation to the Committee of the Regions, said that cohesion policy is key, so much that “without it, the European project is not possible”. Similarly, he compared the Erasmus program for exchanges between students in the INTERREG program for exchanges between the territories.
In the document presented to the Commissioner, the territorial networks of cities propose the creation of a European forum of cities for European territorial cooperation with a legal status and a permanent activity, which integrates the local authorities and their networks. Likewise, they advocate the creation of a European Observatory for Territorial Cooperation, independent of the European Commission in its operation. Finally, for C4C, European territorial cooperation programs must incorporate a management model adapted to their supranational nature, adopting clear, objective, stable and widely circulated administrative rules and procedures.