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Local development must focus on local needs, says Bearder

January 14, 2010 5:15 PM

Catherine Bearder, Lib Dem MEP for South East England, today urged the European Commission to make local government the bedrock of its regional development policy.

At the new Commissioner hearings in the European Parliament, Catherine questioned the Commissioner-Designate for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, on his commitment to a locally based regional policy. She wanted to know how he would ensure that local government was closely involved in the formulation of policy.

Catherine, who has comprehensive experience as a local councillor, said, "local authorities consider this renewed focus on coordination of development activities at the local level to be essential to the development of a future cohesion policy."

"Action must be tailored to local needs, and this means local authorities being brought into the decision making process."

"I was a local Councillor at parish, district and county level for many years, so I know how frustrating it is for local people when decisions that affect their lives are made at the national level and they are not consulted. The Commission has decided to focus more closely on getting funding down to the community level, and we need to know that this will not be diverted through, and held up by central government."

"Localism must be at the heart of Europe's regional policy."