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EU regional policy - 31.01.2005
Regional Policy : CEMR concerned by Commissioner Kroes's comment
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is concerned at the reported comments of EU competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes in the Financial Times, questioning whether the poorer regions within a "rich" country can go on receiving state aid.
On 26 January, Neelie Kroes told the Financial times : Some regions will in the future not get the type of backing they did [in the past]. We need to ask the question whether the poorer régions within a rich country can go on [receiving state aid].
CEMR believes that all regions of the European Union must be eligible for financial support provided they meet certain defined criteria.
However, the issue should be the need of the region, not the question of whether a particular state is rich or poor. The EU's regional and state aids policies need to be coherent with each other - and the Treaties require the Commission to look at disparities between the levels of development of the various regions, not countries. This is the essence of territorial cohesion, one of the new objectives of the European Constitution.
Furthermore, across the EU there are wide economic discrepancies between regions of the same country, regardless of the national wealth of that country. We must not penalise a poor region simply because other regions within the same country.
We are willing to discuss reasonable proposals for change to the present state aids policy, but this must be done through proper consultation, and must not create new disadvantages for disadvantaged regions.
Contact : Patrizio Fiorilli