The Bulgarian government is planning to carve a major motorway through the spectacular Kresna Gorge, one of Europe’s richest nature havens, using EU funds. The consequences for wildlife and the local community could be damaging, writes Magda Stoczkiewicz.
Cohesion Policy, the European Union’s main investment policy tool, is soon to face a struggle for survival. One that could threaten the core values of solidarity and convergence of regional disparities on which the EU has been built up, write Nikos Lampropoulos and Francesco Molica.
Bas Verkerk is the mayor of the Dutch city of Delft and the president of the ALDE Group in the Committee of the Regions (CoR). He is rapporteur of the CoR opinion on 'An integrated Urban Agenda for the EU'.
Set up initially as an intergovernmental forum to promote cooperation among Arctic states, the Council is failing to adequately accommodate rising interest from outside the region and needs reform, argues, Roderick Kefferpütz.
The next long-term budget for the EU must recognise cities’ potential for playing a much greater role in the economic recovery and therefore the urgent priority for investment in urban Europe, writes Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
German statistics and anecdotal evidence show that far-right groups are more active in regions that were part of the former East Germany. Despite reunification, the eastern regions have remained less developed economically than the western regions, writes Stratfor.
Western and Eastern European governments fighting over some billions less or more to the EU's next multi-annual budget (2014-2020) would better focus on how to spend this precious resource, writes Miroslav Mojžiš.
If the scheduled extraordinary European Council in November does not agree on a framework for the 2014-2020 budget or if the European Parliament denies its approval, the future of the EU will be held hostage to an unstable and unmanageable environment, argues Ivailo Kalfin.
There are still significant economic disparities within the EU, such as the ones between North and South or among different EU regions. But EU member states have a common interest in tackling those challenges together, argues Rodi Kratsa-Tsagapopoulou.
Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have a serious structural competitiveness problem, despite the billions of EU taxpayers’ money that these countries received as grants from EU development funds in the past decades, says Martin Bruncko.
Accession to the European Union means prosperity and new economic opportunities for businesses and people, or so goes the argument. In the case of Bulgaria, this is evidently true for the underworld, writes Barbara Frye.
The European Commission's proposals that urge member states to invest part of their regional development fund on low-carbon and energy-efficiency measures sounds very encouraging, argues Markus Trilling of the CEE Bankwatch Network. The question that remains though is whether these proposals will be sufficient enough to secure the conditions for a sustainable regional development.
As the budget debate begins, cohesion policy remains critical to creating the infrastructure that Central and Eastern European EU members need to unleash their full potential for growth and convergence with the rest of the Union, argues Hendrik Bourgeois of General Electric.
Romanian centre-right MEP Petru Constantin Luhan argues that cohesion funds, distributed on the basis of a region's lower GDP per head, should continue to be used to promote solidarity and competitiveness within the EU.
Jeffrey Sachs argues that as US power declines the need for regional cooperation to ensure peace and prosperity will increase. He believes the European Union provides the best model for such cooperation and should inspire other regions of the world.
As eurozone ministers reflect on how to rebuild economic governance in the wake of the Greek crisis, Jean Pisani-Ferry explores the debate on fiscal federalism and urges policymakers to clearly define options for better coordination.
"Municipalities and regions are the most relevant representatives of citizens as they are their voices at the European level," writes Mayor and Governor of Vienna Michael Häupl, president of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), in a May paper.
Rapid modernisation of Europe's infrastructure is a basis for the sustainable development of the older and more recent EU regions. Long-term economic policies co-ordinated at EU level could result not only in significant savings for public finances but also speed up the flow of much needed private investment.