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Open letter to EU Institutions: Call on the EU to support long-term investments

16 May 2017

Polis, CEMR and EUROCITIES - representing local and regional governments from all over Europe - have sent an open letter to call on the EU institutions for more flexibility on long-term public investments at local level.

During the event Long-term investments: Barriers and opportunities for regions and cities hosted on 8 March 2017 at the European Parliament in Brussels, representatives from Polis, CEMR and EUROCITIES discussed possible solutions to boost investments together with representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Urban Intergroup and the Long-Term Investment and Reindustrialisation Intergroup.

Polis, CEMR and EUROCITIES, representing local and regional governments from all over Europe, are now calling on the EU institutions to take the following actions:

  • The European Commission to include a chapter on regional and local public investments in its reflection paper on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union;
  • The European Parliament to draft an own-initiative report on the barriers to local public investment to further highlight the current barriers and challenges ahead;
  • The European Council to discuss how to create some leeway for public investments at local and regional levels within the Stability and Growth Pact;
  • The Committee of the Regions to further engage in dialogue with EU institutions, as a follow up from its opinion “Bridging the investment gap: the role of the local and regional authorities”;
  • Eurostat to distinguish debt related to long-term investments from functional spending and ensure that strategic investment costs are spread across construction time (depreciation);
  • The European Fund for Strategic Investment to include tailored financial rules for identified projects within the investment programme.

Read our open letter signed by the three networks’ key political representatives as well as their secretaries-general which highlights the main conclusions and outcomes.

The political representatives of the three organisations stress these elements to relaunch investments at local level:

Pascal Smet, Minister of Mobility and Public Works of Brussels Capital Region (Polis member): “Cities and local authorities should be allowed to spread out investments in their accounts like the private sector and in line with the works carried out. The existing accounting rules oblige regions and cities to take up large scale projects in one budgetary year whereas in reality they spread out over several years. Economic recovery and economic growth is central to European, national, regional and local policies.”

Flo Clucas, Cabinet Member, Cheltenham Council (LGA, UK) - CEMR spokesperson on local finances: “Good, quality investment is the key to real and sustained growth, jobs and services. For towns, cities and regions to be able to grow their economies, their business and employment base, they need to invest. Currently, fiscal rules both by national governments and the EU prevent local governments from investing, as when they borrow, their investments count as national government debt. If we want our economies to grow, that has to change and become more flexible.”

Tanja Wehsely, Chair of the Committee on Financial, Economic and International Affairs of the Vienna City Council – Chair of EUROCITIES economic development forum: “We are convinced that EU funds and EIB loans must fit our integrated policy approach, and not the other way around. Sustainable long-term public investments are not only good for our citizens, but also for the economy in general”.

Polis, CEMR and EUROCITIES will continue the activities about this key issue in the coming months.