By Humphrey Carter

PALMA held the first of the 13 European Union meetings the city is going to be hosting during Spain's Presidency of the EU yesterday.
The meeting, organised by the Committee of the Regions, was presided over by Spain's Third Deputy Prime Minister, Manuel Chaves and the President of the Committee of the Regions, Luc Van den Brande.

Van den Brande asked for “greater coordination” and “faster” action from European, regional and local institutions to develop a European economic recovery plan.

The “5th Territorial Dialogue for Sustainable Growth and Employment”, organised by the Spanish Presidency of the European Union (EU), is the first time the body has met since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty stipulates that the European Union needs to do more to help island and insular regions such as the Balearics.

Luc Van den Brande told delegates from across the EU that the “main problems” presented by the European regions and municipalities are the lack of coordination between different levels of government, as well as the delay with which the approved measures are being applied.

A recent survey conducted by the EU reveals that 84% of the regional and local regions consulted have seen their economic activity decrease over 2009, while a similar percentage has experienced a drop in their tax revenue.

Van den Brande said that the European Union needs to decentralise its form of government and give the regions a greater role in decision making.


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