The Committee of the Regions (CoR) held a remote meeting for the first plenary of 2022 on 26-27 January 2022. It was a lively session with many contributions from Irish CoR Members.
The session was formally opened by the Head of the Irish Delegation to the CoR Michael Murphy. In his opening address he paid tribute to the former President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, who he described as, ‘A true European who wanted to close the gap between institutions and citizens.’
In relation to EU matters for local and regional authorities Cllr Una Power stated that, ‘We must talk about a Europe that is protected from climate change, when it comes to strategic autonomy that is an incredibly important part of our work going forward.’
The second day included a debate on the EU Green Deal: Sustainable smart mobility in our regions, cities and villages. Cllr Declan McDonnell declared that, ‘Connectivity and accessibility are essential in ensuring social, economic and territorial cohesion, transport affordability must be taken into consideration when devising new policies.’
Henriette Reker, the Mayor of Cologne, was named as the first Laureate of the Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award created in honour of Mayor Paweł Adamowicz of Gdańsk. Cllr Kate Feeney reflected, ‘We are all reminded of the fragility of human life…our vulnerability pushes us to strive for better.’
In relation to the report on the impact of CoR opinions Cllr Kieran McCarthy commented, ‘I’m pleased to see that despite the challenges of the pandemic we did manage as an institution to strengthen our links with our institutions and increase our influence on processes.’
Further to the above, lively discussions took place on topics such as an EU strategic framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027, local and regional authorities accelerating the implementation of the EU Pollinators Initiative, a long-term vision for rural areas, debate on cohesion implementation, towards zero emission road transport, debate on the Conference on the Future of Europe, gender equality and climate change, and the Action Plan: Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil.
Members will reconvene for the next plenary in April 2022.