7th European Summit of Regions and Cities

The European Summit of Regions and Cities was held in Bratislava on 8-9 July 2016, organized by the European Committee of the Regions and co-hosted by the Bratislava Self-Governing Region and the City of Bratislava, in cooperation with the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The conclusion was that the EU must address an alarming fall in public investment in order to tackle growing regional disparity, support sustainable growth and restore faith among citizens. Meeting in the Slovak capital a week after Slovakia took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time, local and regional leaders adopted a declaration that calls on the EU to improve regulation and attract greater private-public investment to create more jobs and tackle the investment gap.


Latest CoR recommendations come during mid-term review of both the EU’s 2014-20 budget and its Cohesion Policy beyond 2020, a policy intended to even out regional differences. A report recently published by the OECD found that many of Europe’s regions and cities have seen public investment drop substantially since 2008.


Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), said: “Citizens demand results, which means that policymakers need to redirect all their efforts to increasing public and private investment in all the European regions, including spreading a new and innovative entrepreneurial mind-set across Europe.”


Pavol Frešo, the Governor of Bratislava Self-Governing Region, said: “EU funding accounts for around 80% of investment by public authorities in Slovakia, so EU money is crucial to Slovakia’s development. But we need to do more with that money especially following the uncertainty following the UK’s EU referendum result. Maximising investment requires work not only by the EU but also by national, regional and local authorities in every country. EU funds must also be extended to cover education, social affairs, health and transport so I am glad to see this reflected in the ‘Bratislava Declaration’.”


The Bratislava Declaration adopted on 8 July praises a special investment fund created by the European Commission in 2015, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), saying that it is “showing great potential”. It calls for the fund to be combined with the EU’s Cohesion Policy to ensure other regions also benefit from the fund, which uses public investment to leverage private investment.


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