EU Democracy and the Committee of the Regions
Chapter 5: The Committee of the Regions and the debate on EU cohesion policy (2014–20): exercising voice to promote territorial cohesion
The key competence of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), in terms of its influence and visibility vis-à-vis the European Parliament (EP), the European Commission, the member states and possibly the public at large, is clearly in the area of cohesion policy, understood as an umbrella term for EU policies and financial instruments created to support different territorial subunits in the interests of overall economic, social and territorial cohesion (Warleigh 1999). As we have argued, the CoR is institutionally a sequel, at least in its advisory function, to the structures that were created by the European Commission for consultation of the subnational levels in the process of developing a redistributive EU policy to balance the market integration programme in the late 1980s. Consequently, the CoR with its mixed local and regional membership, but with an increasingly political focus, has developed its role of expressing the voice of subnational interests in discussions about the allocation and distribution of EU funding. The political role of the CoR manifests itself particularly in its activating the institutional partners and proposing new solutions in the successive cycles of cohesion policy since the major reform in 1988 and the related battles over its budget.
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