“The European Union’s Territorial Agenda after 2020 needs a stronger territorial dimension in a wider range of policy fields”, says Radim Sršeň (EPP/CZ), European Committee of the Regions’ (CoR) rapporteur on the renewed Territorial Agenda and Community-led local development (CLLD). His draft opinion was adopted unanimously by the members of the CoR’s COTER Commission in their meeting on 10 July.
Territorial instruments such as CLLD or integrated territorial investments (ITI) are well-proven measures which can bring Europe closer to the people, Sršeň’s draft opinion states. By actively involving all local stakeholders and citizens, they are able to respond to European needs using local means and, as a result, help boost the legitimacy of the EU. Sršeň therefore calls for a much higher uptake of territorial instruments such as CLLD and ITI in the EU Member States in the next programming period, while supporting mandatory earmarking across all funds in order to fulfil the renewed Territorial Agenda and cohesion goals.
Multifund CLLD was a new EU tool for the programming period of 2014-2020, but the Member States did not use it in an expected scale. Sršeň’s opinion looks for reasons, analyses challenges and problems connected with CLLD implementation and gives recommendations to boost the uptake of the tool in the programming period after 2020.
The rapporteur highlights the need to strengthen rural-urban linkages and points out the significant need to overcome the current geographical and sectoral separation of EU funds. Through tailored measures, the Territorial Agenda is essential for addressing inequalities between regions and cities and the people who live in them.
Integrated territorial instruments should be based on the specificities and needs of the regions and not merely duplicate the measures and thematic and territorial concentration of the Operational Progammes financing those instruments, the draft opinion states.
Finally, Sršeň proposes the creation of a CLLD support unit at the EU level to support communication, capacity building, networking and transnational cooperation of all Local Action Groups in all funds.