The Committee of the Regions (CoR) held its 156th plenary session on the 5th and 6th of July in the European Parliament’s Hemicycle. The session marked the fourth plenary of the year and the final meeting before the Summer recess. The session featured ten opinions and six debates.
Following President Vasco Alves Cordeiro formally opening the two-day session, the plenary began with a debate on the role of local and regional authorities in the defence of democracy. The debate was held in the context of a package of measures announced by Commission President aimed at defending democracy from covert foreign influence. This was followed by an opinion of a similar theme by rapporteur-general Gustaw Marek Brezezin on the role of local and regional authorities in countering disinformation and foreign information manipulation and interference.
The key vote of day one was the proposal to allow certain meetings to be held remotely. This was on the context of the establishment of a new ad hoc committee.
From an Irish perspective the highlight of the day was Cllr Una Power’s opinion on ambient air quality, which was debated alongside Asa Agren Wikstrom’s Revision of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. Following a close vote Cllr Power’s opinion was passed with a several amendments.
Day one was rounded out with discussions on two opinions, firstly Isolde Ries opinion on Critical Raw Materials and following this, Josef Frey’s opinion on the reform of the EU electricity market design, which seeks to speed up the clean energy transition.
Day two began with a Local Matters debate on sustainable mobility in local areas, a topic which drew support from across the house as representatives from the ECR, PES and the EPP spoke on the topic.
This was followed by a debate on the role of US and EU subnational governments with Robin Vos, President of the National Conference of State Legislature. Cllr. Emma Blain used the debate to thank President Vos for his engagement with the CoR as well as noting that she looks forward to welcoming him to Dublin in August.
The plenary was rounded out with debates on the EU Enlargement Package, fostering the potential synergies of EU Green Deal initiatives for regions and cities and a debate on the forthcoming Net Zero Industry Act.
The next plenary session will take place in conjunction with the week of cities and regions on the 10th and 11th of October.