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European Committee of the Regions to elect new leadership as new mandate starts

euroThe new assembly of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will gather on 12 February for the first time in its new five-year political term.

The 350 CoR members, recently appointed following approval by the Council of the EU, meet in Brussels at a constitutive plenary session where they will elect their new President, discuss political priorities and adopt a number of opinions.

Created in 1994, the European Committee of the Regions is the EU’s assembly of regional and local representatives from all 28 Member States. Its mission is to involve regional and local authorities in the EU’s decision-making process and inform them about EU policies.

All 350 CoR members are required to be politically accountable in their home towns and regions.

CoR Presentation clip:

Source: Euronews 

Juncker plan is a substantial step to revive private investment & using flexibility in EU budget rules

juncker"Regions and cities hope that the quality of those projects funded by the new package, together with favourable market conditions, will allow the plan to succeed in mobilising private investors. Excluding Member States' contributions from the Growth and Stability Pact is a first step in the right direction and should be extended to all national and regional investment matching EU Structural and Investment Funds". With these words, the President of the Committee of the Regions, Michel Lebrun, welcomed the €315bn package presented by the European Commission on Wednesday.

According to President Lebrun, "Even though there are no additional resources, the proposed European Fund for Strategic Investments can complement the current European Investment Bank (EIB) offer and promote the use of financial instruments also in the implementation of cohesion policy". At the same time he stressed that: "Intensifying the use of such instruments cannot happen to  the detriment of the less favoured regions where, in the most cases, grants cannot be replaced by loans, equity and guarantees."

Referring to regions' and cities' concerns related to the connection between cohesion policy and the new plan, President Lebrun stressed that projects to be financed under the new investment package must be closely coordinated with European Structural and Investment Funds: "The new investment package must be consistent with the priorities set by the new operational programmes and smart specialisation strategies, to help EU regions get back on track".  In this perspective the governance of the investment package, he argued, should be designed to mobilise regions' and cities' knowledge of local economies in the identification of strategic projects as well as in their delivery.

With regards to the scope of the new investment plan, President Lebrun pointed out: "The new fund must be allowed to finance sub-national projects, including small-scale projects or clusters of projects, that can often be implemented much faster and have an immediate impact on growth and jobs". It would therefore be of outermost importance that the forthcoming Investment Committee includes experts of sub-national planning and finance so that the projects' pipeline can benefit from a stronger territorial dimension. In this perspective, the current cooperation between the Committee and the EIB could be further developed helping enhance regional and private financing.

Looking ahead to the package adoption, President Lebrun announced that: "The Committee of the Regions immediately started work on the assessment of the Commission's proposal and is determined to provide the European Parliament and the Council with qualified and timely proposals aimed at strengthening the plan's regional focus."

Source: Committee of teh Regions

Delivering EU cohesion policy reform: regions and cities concerned by delays and rules' complexity

wozniak2-150The Committee of the Regions Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy (COTER) met jointly with the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development (REGI) to discuss problems and opportunities emerging from the implementation of the reform of EU regional policy adopted last year. Complexity of rules, persistent lack of urban focus and delays in launching 2014-2020 programmes were among the critical issues raised by local and regional leaders.

A joint REGI-COTER meeting held on 6 October saw a first exchange of views on the implementation of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for 2014-2020 whose new regulations were discussed over the last 3 years and eventually adopted at the end of 2013. The reform's delivery is raising mixed reactions among regional and local leaders who are in charge of their management. "We are now in the 'hot period' when the process of negotiation of partnership agreements and operational programmes is coming to an end" said COTER chair, Marek Wozniak (PL/EPP), Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region, who stressed that: "The time has come to ask questions such as how the new instruments will be implemented in Member States to ensure the optimal distribution of cohesion policy allocations as well as to help beneficiaries to use the available means more effectively." The overall judgment on the reform was positive. "Regional policy is generally well defined and the resources have been secured for its programmes”, pointed out the State Secretary and Delegate of Saxony-Anhalt for the German Federation, Michael Schneider (DE/EPP). Taking reference from the 2008 joint working group between the Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament, he proposed to “re-establish the ad hoc group on cohesion policy in 2015 to elaborate practical proposals for more efficient programmes and to cut the impact of administrative burden".

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Ten Years in the EU: Visegrad Perspective and Beyond

11164By joining the EU (and NATO) Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia fulfilled the key target of Visegrad cooperation, with Slovakia being the most problematic element in this process due to unsatisfying track record in terms of democratic criteria for several years.

After EU accession, the Visegrad states have since tried to redefine priorities and find an orientation point for future cooperation. Joining the EU was by a substantial part of the population seen as a way to align the living standards of the CEE region with that of „old“ member states. 10 years after, looking just on the overall numbers suggest that V4 countries are economically stronger. V4 annual GDP grew additionally ~1% due to EU membership, purchasing power reached 65 % of EU15 average, the income gap has narrowed by 1/3. According to further Erste Group study data, V4 exports grew three times faster than the exports of EU15 and V4 is now the fourth largest exporter in the EU28, and second largest car producer in the EU after Germany.

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Traineeships in the European Parliament

Parliament offers several options for traineeships within its Secretariat, to provide opportunities for vocational training and for learning more about what the European Parliament is and does.

Traineeships for university graduates are intended to enable trainees to supplement the knowledge which they acquired during their studies and to familiarise themselves with the activities of the European Union and, in particular, the European Parliament.

These traineeships cover:

  • Robert Schuman scholarships, general option
  • Robert Schuman scholarships, journalism option.

Applicants for a traineeship for university graduates must.

  • be nationals of a Member State of the European Union or an applicant country, without prejudice to the provisions of article 5 paragraph 2 of the Internal rules;
  • be aged 18 or over on their traineeship starting date;
  • have a thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the European Union;
  • not have been awarded any other traineeship or have been in paid employment for more than four consecutive weeks at the expense of the European Union budget.

Applicants for Robert Schuman scholarships, journalism option, must demonstrate professional experience as evidenced either by works published, or by membership of an association of journalists in a Member State of the European Union, or by a qualification in journalism recognised in the Member States of the European Union or in the applicant countries.

These traineeships are awarded for a period of five months which cannot be extended.

Traineeship dates and deadlines for receipt of applications
Application period Traineeship period
15 August – 15 October (midnight) 1 March - 31 July
15 March – 15 May (midnight) 1 October - 28/29 February

To apply for the traineeship you must fulfil the conditions and complete the online application form.

We advise you not to wait until the last day to apply, to prevent the system from becoming overloaded because there are a large number of applications.

When applying online, you have a maximum of 30 minutes to complete each page of the application form. Please note that if you leave your application form inactive for 30 minutes, the data you have entered will be lost. We therefore advise you to read carefully the ‘Internal rules governing traineeships and study visits in the Secretariat of the European Parliament’ and the Frequently Asked Questions before filling in the application form.

In order to apply to those Directorates-General that best suit your profile, you can read their description via the information button  on the last page of the application form or visit the website of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

The application cannot be changed online and is completed and submitted in a single operation. After filling in your application please make sure that it is correct and complete before submitting it.

You may send only one application for one traineeship option. In case of multiple applications for one option we will keep only the most recent one.

NB: Any incomplete applications will automatically be rejected.

Once you have confirmed/sent your online application you will automatically receive a confirmation message to your email address. The message contains a confirmation number that you should quote in all future correspondence concerning the traineeship and the summary of your application in pdf format, a paper version of which will be requested, if we offer you a traineeship.

More information - http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/007cecd1cc/Traineeships.html