Every two years, the European Committee of the Regions brings politicians from every level of government in Europe – local, regional, national and European – together with experts and stakeholders to the European Summit of Regions and Cities, to discuss policies that affect day-to-day life and business in territories across the European Union. Such a gathering helps to ensure that local experiences are reflected in policies that will affect Europe’s economic, social and territorial prospects for years to come.
The focus of the 2016 Summit, held on 8-9 July in Bratislava, Slovakia, was on the need for investments and for better cross-border connections in order to unlock the growth potential offered by the rich diversity of Europe’s regions. The EU’s investments aim to generate smarter, greener and more sustainable growth across the Union and to narrow the economic gap between the regions of Europe. The EU is now trying to increase the impact of its spending, by simplifying its policies.
The Summit’s themes are given added urgency by continuing wide differences in investment between countries and regions in the EU – and by the European Commission’s efforts to mobilise €315 billion in public and private investment.
This year’s Summit was kindly hosted by the Bratislava Self-Governing Region and the City of Bratislava and organized as an official event of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Summit had a strong central European and specifically Slovak dimension, including cultural events and public debates.