The FINANCIAL — The first EU-wide Regional and Local Barometer – produced by the European Committee of the Regions – warns that Coronavirus pandemic is heavily impacting sub-national authorities’ revenues: in Italy, Germany and France alone, their losses could total 30 billion euros in 2020. The crisis is also widening social and economic inequalities in the EU’s territories. The Report warns that the crisis risks creating a “COVID lost generation” of young people, and highlights serious disparities between regional healthcare systems. The increasing rural-urban divide also represents a clear threat to EU’s cohesion.
Presenting the results of the Annual Regional and Local Barometer, Apostolos Tzitzikostas (EL/EPP), President of the European Committee of the Regions and governor of the Region of Central Macedonia in Greece, said: “ The Barometer aims at better understanding the needs of people , to provide the right answers. Only by taking the pulse of our communities can we decide how effective the EU has been on the ground, and what the EU needs to do help its regions, cities and villages. Our Report confirms that the pandemic has hurt us all. Over 90% of EU regions and municipalities expect their revenues to plummet.”
”The crisis” – continued President Tzitzikostas – “threatens to create a lost COVID-19 generation, with young people’s jobs being more at risk, and only six Member States able to offer digital education for 80% or more of students. The 67% of Europeans who want cities and regions to have more influence on EU decisions tell us that it is time to re-think how EU democracy works, to better connect it with people in the territories . As regional and local leaders, we are committed to working together at the EU and national levels to recover from the pandemic and building resilient and sustainable communities.”
President von der Leyen , who was addressing the EU’s assembly for local and regional politicians for the first time since taking office, said: “Local authorities were the first line of defence when the crisis hit. Europeans know what their mayors, governors or councillors have done for them. They will be at the core of our recovery. NextGenerationEU’s resources will therefore target the resilience of our health systems. The European funds will enable investments in new hospitals, better equipment and stronger healthcare systems And local administrations should be in the driving seat.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also address the European Committee of the Regions on 13 October, in her capacity as leader of the country that holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.