EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about Commission President Barroso’s Open Days speech was published by EurActiv on 5th October 2010.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso yesterday (4 October) told regional and local leaders that they need to get more involved in the debate on the future of EU regional policy.

Barroso was scheduled to make a “live” appearance at the opening ceremony of the annual Open Days – a four-day “think-in” hosted by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) – but had to cancel due to a meeting with new Australian Premier Julia Gillard.

Speaking instead via video message, Barroso told the regions that they would be key players, not only in making the new post-2013 regional policy a success, but also in ensuring that the future policy does its part to enable the success of the Commission’s 2020 strategy for sustainable growth in the coming decade.

Raise your voices, Barroso tells regions

However, regions have to make their voices heard if they want to play their part, he added, telling the delegates that “you need to increase your role in this dialogue”.

This point was echoed by former CoR President Michel Delebarre from France’s Nord-Pas-de Calais Region. He warned the assembled representatives that they must work harder to make the case for greater local and regional involvement in the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy, not only in Brussels but also in the member states.

This was vital, he added, because while EU Regional Policy Commissioner Hahn understood the importance of cities and regions, many of his colleagues still needed to be convinced.

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