Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments


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Policy Committee

CEMR statutory affairs - 15.12.2004

CEMR Policy Committee meeting : the new mandates and the political statements
The mayor and governor of Vienna, Michael Häupl, has been elected president of CEMR on 14 December 2004. The members of CEMR's policy Committee voted unanimously in his favour at their meeting in Maastricht.
 
The Policy Committee also voted in favour of the following nominations:
 
First vice-president: Wim Deetman, Mayor of The Hague and president of the Dutch Association of communes (VNG)
 
Executive presidents:
Bärbel Dieckman, Mayor of Bonn and vice-president of the German section of CEMR
Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome
Oldrich Vlasak, Member of the European Parliament and president of the Union of Czech towns and municipalities
 
Member of the Executive Bureau and vice-presidents
Ken Bodfish : Chairman of the LGIB; Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council
Raffaele Fitto, President of the Puglia region and of the Italian section of CEMR (AICCRE)
Georgios Giannopoulos, Mayor of Rhodes and member of the Bureau of KDKE
Wolfgang Schuster, Mayor of Stuttgart and president of the German association of CEMR
Francisco Vazquez Vazquez, Mayor of La Coruna and president of the Spanish federation of municipalities and provinces
Louis Le Pensec, Senator, president of the French association of CEMR
Haldvan Skard, Member of Baerum municipal council, president of the Norwegian association of local and regional authorities.
 
Europe's local and regional government's position on public services, sustainable development, town twinning and cohesion policy
 
The Policy Committee members also agreed on four position papers on subjects of importance to local and regional governments.
 
CEMR believes that local and regional governments should be able freely and democratically to decide on the means of organising, financing and delivering and managing the public services for which they are responsible.
 
CEMR also emphasizes that the European Treaties contain provisions relating to services of general economic interest, to which European rules on competition and state aids may apply, but the treaties do not cover non-economic services of general interest.We need a clearer definition of each of these services. The test for determining whether a service is a service of general economic interest should be whether it is of a dominantly commercial character.
 
CEMR's Policy Committee also calls for a major political debate on the role of local and regional public services, in particular on the appropriate balance between the principles of local and regional self-government, subsidiarity and proportionnality on one hand, and on the other the proper application of the European rules on competition and state aids.
 
In its position paper on sustainable development, CEMR's Policy Committee shares the Commission's objectives and principles, and welcomes the initiative to develop a thematic strategy on the urban development. However, it is not at this stage persuaded that imposing binding legal requirements at EU level on cities with a population of over 100,000 to put in place an environmental management plan, an environmental management system, and a sustainable urban transport plan, is the best way forward to achieved our shared objectives. In various Member States, national and European requirements for urban plans already exist. It must still be debated whether such measures would respect the principle of subsidiarity. CEMR also support the Aalborg Commitments adopted at the Aalborg+10 conference, last June (the Commitments set a common framework for the development of local sustainability targets).
 
CEMR reiterates its support for the main principles set out for the future of cohesion policy (2007-2013) in the 3d report on economic and social cohesion, and now broadly reflected in the draft regulations or the structural funds and rural development.
 
CEMR believes that an effective, ambitious pan-European cohesion policy, which addresses the needs and promotes the balanced development of Europes localities, cities and regions, is a vital component to achieving the Lisbon Strategy objectives. However, it expresses deep concern at the nature of the negotiations that have taken place on the financial perspectives of the Union, and emphasizes the need to ensure that the Union has sufficient resources to carry out its essential policies. The Commission's proposal that expenditure on the future cohesion policy should be of O.41% of EU GNP (0.46% including rural development) is the minimum acceptable.
 
On town twinning, CEMR calls for the establishment of an ambitious new programme for the 2007-2013 period, and in particular for a strengthening of the role of town twinning with a more appropriate legal and financial framework. Town twinning plays an important role in the construction of a more tolerant and understanding society. In this spirit, CEMR calls on the EU institutions to extend the twon twinning programme to include EU border countries, and to encourage exchanges with municipalities from the Mediterranean basin which are not members of the EU.
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