Romania needs more robust regions

Interview with Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions – 6 mai 2011

 

President of the Committee of the Regions, Mercedes Bresso, says that a structural reform of the local administration would lead to stronger territorial structures which, in turn, would boost the absorption rate of EU funds. European rules must be simplified, as a mean toward better money management, acknowledges Mercedes Bresso.

Ovidiu Nahoi:

Madam President, considering the financial and sovereign debt crisis, the larger states would like to limit their contributions to the EU budget, which obviously would affect the cohesion policy. What’s your response?

Mercedes Bresso:

Contributions to the EU budget is slightly above 1% of the GDP of the 27 member states. This budget cannot resolve the problems of the member states. In the same time, for achieving greater increases of the national GDP’s, we need effective policies at a supranational level. The European single market contributes to economic growth. By reducing the budget, we will also reduce revenue and economic growth. I believe that a courageous policy would be stimulating economic growth throughout Europe. Moreover, poorer regions have higher rates of growth and represent the new markets of the European Union. They should not be detached from the convergence policy. And there is a European added value of these funds. By reducing the budget, we will also reduce revenue and economic growth.

But what if the larger states who say they will reduce their contributions will win the day, how will the future of the EU look like?

Positions are not exactly identical in every country. However, this European added value brings benefits to larger states. It is well known that a lot of money that are invested in the development of countries like Poland, return to the contributing states. As an example, those money return to Germany because a lot of development projects are won by German companies. But the same thing happens with companies from France, Italy or Great Britain. It must be pointed out that behind the convergence policy stands the single market. And the single market also generates profits for the bigger states. And those policies help poorer regions to join the market, to be competitive; otherwise they wouldn’t have the strength to resist. The single market and the convergence policy are two sides of the same coin. Let’s not forget that.

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