There are several key areas where Europe needs to improve. We must boost the innovative mind-set and investment capacity of regions and cities, address the social dimension of the economic crisis and strengthen our neighbourhood and migration policies.
The Committee of the Regions (CoR) fully supports European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker's €315bn investment plan. Together with structural funds and other financing instruments, it is an excellent venture that will help mobilise public and private investors.
In cooperation with the European Investment Bank, we want to involve our members directly in our campaign to better publicise the plan's potential. We want to do this at every level of government, in order to maximise its leverage at regional and local level.
We need to shift both the focus and our thinking from unemployment to employment and from problems to solutions. There is scope for a further push to unlock investment and create growth and jobs, especially for Europe's youth.
New measures must be implemented in the areas of youth mobility as well as entrepreneurial and digital skills, combined with transparent start-up procedures and access to financing.
For those who work and live in the heart of Europe, the problems our border areas face and the circumstances in which they find themselves may sometimes seem far away. The tragic events in the Mediterranean need resolute and immediate action.
The CoR aims to set up migration and integration partnerships between destination and origin cities and regions. Our partnerships with the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly, and the Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership, offer tools to exchange views and best practices.
Our members have in place a variety of governance models at different stages of economic and industrial development in their regions and cities. Their know-how should be harnessed by our neighbours, to help their own development.