The Minister of the Presidency and government spokesperson, Meritxell Budó, said today that she would work to strengthen the role of the Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP) as a lobby group within the European Union. “As a cross-border community, it’s important for us to have a voice so we can participate in decisions taken within the EU,” said Budó.
Minister Budó took over the presidency of the Working Community of the Pyrenees from the president of Aragon at the 37th plenary council session, held in Jaca. She attended the meeting together with the Director-General for European and Mediterranean Affairs, Alfonso González Bondía, and the territorial representative for the Pyrenees and Aran, Rosa Amorós, who will serve as the secretary general of the CTP during the Catalan mandate.
Budó said that the constitution of the CTP as a formal lobby to the European Union “empowers us politically as a European region – as an important cross-border macroregion of Europe – and makes us a significant political actor”.
In her speech to the plenary session, Meritxell Budó, who mentioned the plight of Catalan prisoners and exiles, said that for the Government of Catalonia, it is essential to be present and active in key European debates. “We want to contribute to defining the present and future of Europe in a plural way,” she said. She stressed the importance of “re-engaging and moving forward with the project of integration and European political union – united in diversity”. According to the minister, this will only be possible if European institutions become more democratic.
Budó said this democratic strengthening must be supported by “multilevel governance – by putting into practice the principle of subsidiarity and optimising decision-making spaces so that they are more efficient and closer to citizens. This means giving cross-border cooperation democratic legitimacy and renewing its central role.”
In a meeting of CTP delegations held before the plenary session, the Director-General for European and Mediterranean Affairs, Alfonso González Bondía, said: “The Catalan presidency of the Working Community of the Pyrenees will allow us to pursue our commitment to cross-border cooperation, an objective set out in the White Paper on the Europe Plan, recently approved by the Government of Catalonia.”
The work plan for the Catalan presidency of the CTP (2019–21) sets out three priority objectives. The first is to strengthen cooperation between members by deploying the Pyrenees Strategy 2018–24 by means of appropriate instruments and in a way that increases the impact of CTP actions on citizens.
The second objective is to increase the presence and weight of the CTP within Europe. This will involve presenting the Pyrenees Strategy in Brussels with the aim of participating in debates on the European Union’s mountain and cross-border cooperation policies. In support of this objective, the Spain – France-Andorra cooperation programme for 2021–27 (POCTEFA) will be negotiated with the European Commission.
The third goal is to strengthen CTP governance by building a more balanced organisational structure that facilitates proper implementation of the Pyrenees Strategy, and to continue working to ensure maximum transparency and improve communication between CTP members in order to increase the effectiveness of processes related to the preparation, adoption and execution of decisions.
Working Community of the Pyrenees
The CTP is an association for cross-border cooperation established by the French regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie; the Basque Country, Aragon, Navarre and Catalonia, and the Principality of Andorra. Over the course of more than three decades, it has become a leading actor in cross-border cooperation at the European level.