Dear members of CALRE

I would like to welcome you to this meeting of the Standing Committee. We are having to hold it virtually in the light of the circumstances, and this is the first time we have held a meeting of the Conference in this way.

I would also like to thank you for accepting the meeting proposal. We are aware of the effort it involves in the current situation in which the European regional parliaments are having to face up to the challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. To be able to continue to exercise their competences, they have had to change their way of operating, notwithstanding the lockdown measures that have been imposed in our countries.

Despite these circumstances, we felt that the right thing to do was for us to prepare the action plan for the coming months together. This plan amounts to CALRE´s response to the health, economic and social impacts now being suffered by the citizens of our regions.

By the same score, we are beginning to observe the start of a new phase of construction for the European Union. The EU institutions are creating joint solutions to counter the effects of the pandemic. They are supporting the member states in the task of dealing with said impacts and drawing on the principle of SOLIDARITY that was fundamental in beginning to construct the EU.

In this new scenario, we believe that two principles should guide CALRE´s role as a proactive player in the EU´s recovery and in shaping it for the future: defending the importance of the cohesion policies, and involving the regions in EU decision-making.

With all of this in mind, and for further reasons I will explain later under the relevant agenda item, I propose that we establish an activities-based plan focused on these two principles.

So, let´s begin our meeting. As befits the spirit of cooperation of our Conference, I am sure that we will complete good work regardless of the distance.

Thank you very much.