The Committee of the Regions (CoR) held its 155th plenary session on the 24th and 25th of May. The session marked the third plenary of the year and the penultimate meeting before the summer recess. The session featured six opinions and five debates including a debate and opinion on the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework.
Following President Vasco Alves Cordeiro’s formal opening of the two-day session, the plenary began with a debate on ‘Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion at local and regional level’ in the context of May being EU diversity month. This was followed by an opinion from Italian CoR Member Michele Pais on interoperability across the Union. Interoperability being Member States’ ability to share citizens information across borders to allow for better access to public services across the EU.
Following the aforementioned debate on the Midterm review of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the subsequent vote on the opinion, the plenary adjourned for the evening.
The second day opened with a debate on zero long-term unemployment. This debate took place in the context that despite recent improvement in trends on the European labour market, long-term unemployment rates are still 36.2% on average in the EU-27 in 2021, according to OECD figures, with rates per Member State varying between 20% and 60%.
Day two’s key debate was Cllr. Joke Schauvliege’s opinion on the legislative framework for sustainable food systems. The framework looks at the challenges of sustainable food systems while recognising the inextricable links between healthy people, healthy societies and a healthy planet. The strategy also looks to contribute to the EU’s efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Given the broad scope of the opinion it led to a wide-ranging debate on the floor, with three of four amendments proposed by Irish delegation members, thus ensuring that human health is protected within the framework.
The plenary session finished with two EU Local Matters on water scarcity and implementing REPowerEU. Followed by a final debate on a more resilient, more inclusive and more democratic Europe.
The next plenary session will take place on the 5th and 6th of July.