President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) Karl-Heinz Lambertz pleaded on Thursday for the strengthening of EU's cohesion policy, adding that there cannot be an Union in the absence of a real cohesion.
In the opening of the European Summit of Regions and Cities which takes place on Thursday and Friday in Bucharest, at the Palace of Parliament, Lambertz welcomed the motto which the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council selected, namely "Cohesion, a common European value."
He mentioned that the cohesion policy should be defended because we know that there cannot be an Union without a real cohesion.
The CoR President underscored that the European Union, where elections will be held in only 73 days, is going through a period marked by major challenges, and in this context, the declaration to be adopted on Friday by the European leaders of regions and cities - 'essential actors in European construction' - regarding the vision of the future of the European Union becomes all the more important.
According to Lambertz, the EU needs the suitable tools in order to reach its objectives regarding progress and cohesion, the European Committee of the Regions cooperating with the European Parliament for a substantial financial framework to exist, as well as an efficient allocation of the EU resources.
In her speech, Mayor of Polish city of Gdansk Aleksandra Dulkiewicz was in favour of defending the fundamental European values, saying that most Poles support these values. The 39-year old lawyer brought to mind her predecessor, Pawel Adamowicz - assassinated in January - when those in the audience applauded for a couple of seconds, as a sign of respect.
Adamowicz died on 14 January, after being stabbed the day before, during a public celebration. This attack, committed by a man who got out of prison and spread allegations against a political party close to his victim, sparked a wave of emotion in Poland, many commentators and politicians attributing the drama to the "hate speech" present in the public debate.
Called "(Re)New EUrope" and in the context of Brexit, the Bucharest Summit focuses on the contribution and role of local and regional authorities in ensuring solidarity in the European Union, in strengthening European democracy and encouraging dialogue with citizens, especially in view of the elections to the European Parliament of May 23-26.
Within the European Summit of regions and cities various debates are included on topics such as cohesion and social integration in regions and cities, building a sustainable future in the EU regions and cities, territorial cohesion, strengthening European democracy through the citizens' participation through the local and regional authorities, the expectations of young leaders from the EU.