Faced by the crisis, Regions at Europe’s bedside

Martial Milaret, ESN's Treasurer, represented the European Social Network (ESN) at the Assembly of European Regions (AER) Summit in Paris on 17 May. ESN had been invited to share lessons from its work on the impact of and responses to the crisis on social services, to complement the work of the AER. ESN took the opportunity to outline the short-term cost-saving measures (e.g. staff reductions) and long-term strategic reforms (e.g. focus on prevention and rehabilitation) that have formed social services’ response to budgetary pressure. Martial also highlighted the potential for the EU’s social investment approach to support regional and local authorities in their efforts to confront the crisis. View his presentation here.

The summit gathered 250 European, national and regional decision makers as well as representatives from the business and banking sector, in the presence of Janusz Lewandowski, European Commissioner for financial programming and Budget, Jean-Paul Huchon, President of the Ile-de-France Regional Council and Laurent Fabius, French Minister for Foreign Affairs.

AER President Michèle Sabban gave the following message to the summit: “Confronted with the crisis, which is affecting Europe, regions must take their place as a true driving force, bringing up proposals. Their current difficulties should not prevent them from fully exploiting their strengths and potential. We have to keep in mind that the majority of the European laws are implemented at local and regional level and the budget for regional policies represents the European Union second budgetary position (35% of the EU budget). That is why we have made today 10 firm recommendations in order to initiate new public policies and mobilise their territories. We just gave out personally our recommendations to Commissioner Lewandowski and Minister Fabius, and the AER will now bring this message and commitments to the EU Institutions as well as to all member States!”

From the European Social Network (ESN), Martial Milaret said: “Regions have an important place in the solution to Europe’s crisis and in its transformation. We have to support innovation, scale up good practice and create solidarity within and between regions.”

Resources

AER’s ten recommendations for regions to overcome the crisis are available in English, French and German here