Twenty-four European territories from nine European member states have sent a joint letter to Ursula Von der Leyen, Charles Michel, David Sassoli, Angela Merkel, António Costa and Janez Jansa to express their commitment “to undertake joint efforts to strengthen the role of regions in EU decision-making related to the post-COVID recovery”. In this initiative led by Catalonia, the European regions call upon decision-makers “to be involved in EU recovery discussions at the highest level” in order “to be actively included in the design and implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the national plans adopted thereunder”.
The Vice President of the Government of Catalonia and Minister of Economy and Finance, Pere Aragonès, assured that the Catalan Government wants to contribute actively to the decision-making in the European post-COVID reconstruction strategy, “as we have the strength, the energy, capacity and determination to participate directly in the reconstruction of our countries and of the Union as a whole”. "A post-COVID Europe must be a Europe of prosperity, rights and freedoms, in which peoples and nations like Catalonia have their own voice," he added.
VP Aragonès argued that it has been the territories that, “from the closest proximity to the citizenry”, have directly managed the pandemic and its social and economic consequences, “and therefore it is essential that we are an active part of the design and the implementation of the European Recovery and Resilience Facility”. In this sense, he recalled that the pandemic "has hit all territories" and that, for this reason, "the solution does not go through decisions that are taken only from the perspective of the member states." "The vision of our territories is essential, it is non-delegable and it is completely irreplaceable," he insisted.
In relation to the recovery funds, Pere Aragonès has vindicated the “extensive experience” of Catalonia in the management of European funds and the fact of having a multitude of powerful and transformative projects that connect with the Next Generation EU plan and with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda”.
For his part, the Minister for Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency, Bernat Solé, stated that the alliance presented this Thursday "confirms the leadership that Catalonia wants to exercise at the European level" insisting that “it reinforces the European commitment” of the Catalan Government. Solé also stressed the need for the territories to "have a voice of their own" in the reconstruction of Europe after the COVID-19 crisis, which is the essence of the alliance. The minister recalled that these territories are the ones that manage "the day-to-day running of the pandemic, they have the powers and want to be central figures in the decision-making". The aim is for this alliance to "contribute to equal opportunities for all European citizens" so that, as the 2030 Agenda argues, "no one is left behind".
The Representative of the Government of Catalonia to the European Union, Meritxell Serret, explained that the letter sent to high European authorities "is another step towards advancing European integration when it is most needed". According to Serret, this is an alliance between territories that advocate a way out of this COVID-19 crisis of "making Europe stronger".
The signatory regions are Åland Islands, Baden-Württemberg, Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Bavaria, Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Bolzano-Bozen / South Tyrol, Catalonia, Emilia-Romagna, Flanders, Hessen, Krapina-Zagorje County, Koprivnica-Križevci County, Lazio, Lower Austria, Medjimurje County, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Tyrol, Valencia, Varazdin County, Voralberg, Wallonia and Wielkopolska.