The Covid-19 pandemic is putting in troubles the entire world and in Europe the virus is spreading fast. This is the time for the European institutions to reveal their resilience. Discuss common challenges for EU’s members States and to exchange ideas on possible solutions is the purpose of the European Week of Regions and Cities. In a time of general crisis, this 18th edition, was even more meaningful. In order to allow a broad participation, the event was organized in a hybrid format with sessions distributed in three consecutive weeks, which were available via web streaming and physically, in certain cases. Empowering citizens, cohesion and cooperation and a greener Europe were the major topics treated during the meetings.
Cohesion policy is the strategy put in place by the European institutions with the aim of reducing disparities between regions, nevertheless EU’s Member States have not the same level of development, it is a fact. Hundreds of thousands of projects all over Europe are financed by the EU’s structural funds. On occasion of the RegioStars Award Cerimony, taken place on 14th October, Europe celebrated the best projects who distinguished themselves for their innovative approach in regional development. In order to ensure a real environment of cooperation, EU institutions should encourage dialogue between its members. European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, actually remarked this crucial point of EU’s policy during the Citizen’s Dialogue occurred on the 12th October.
Communication not only among European countries. There is the necessity to establish a more synergic dialogue also between the EU’s institutions, deputized in different roles. During the debate on the annual local and regional barometer, taken place on the 12th October, the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, affirmed the importance of a bottom-up process, in the field of EU’s decisions. “Local authorities and regions are our stable foundations. Without foundations, no house can stand” stated Tzitzikostas. The European Committee of the Regions is the institutional body closest to citizens, that is why should exert a huge influence in decision-making processes.
Great consideration was also given to the issue of climate emergency. On the agenda of the event, an entire week was dedicated to this topic. For several years, the young generation is trying to change people’s mindsets by organizing frequent mobilizations. There is the need of more sustainable political measures. A greener Europe is actually one of the pillars of Next Generation EU. Supporting renewable energy projects, kick-starting a clean hydrogen economy in Europe and the digital transition are some of the major objectives of the financial plan. This is the time to push forward our European Union in direction of green economy and digitization. The Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined this point during the debate on the German Presidency, occurred on 13th October. A greener Europe, not only in words. In order to minimize its environmental impact, the European Week of Regions and Cities was a paperless and plastic-free event.
A sustainable economy and a real cooperation between EU’s States are the pillars on which to shape the future. During the 18th edition of the European week of Regions and Cities, EU institutions appealed to citizenship to play an active role in building a better Europe. Many challenges have to be faced and the only way to go through the crisis is walking to the finish line together.