The French press has suggested that the anti-government protests of yellow vest protestors in France started initially as a protest against a rise in taxes on diesel. However, some violent groups and far-right groups infiltrated this grass-root citizens’ movement and many small business owners have suffered losses during the riots, writes Hande Bozatli.
Could this kind of restlessness in society be prevented? If people were confident about their social and economic well being, if they felt secure and valued, would they risk their own safety, and protest in the streets for their demands from government?
No countries have achieved sustained economic growth without the growth of cities and regions. Cities and regions play an important role in economic development. They provide efficient infrastructure and services to their citizens.
Indeed, local and regional governments have the capacity to support development projects directly on the ground. They can also cooperate with national governments and European institutions in order to create optimal conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The economic problems and their negative impact on society have made policy-makers rethink the role of economic development policies in promoting growth and jobs.
The current policies designed to promote long-term and sustainable economic growth are based upon on the principle that cities and regions play a key role for economic growth.
The Europe 2020 Strategy reaffirms the goal of the European Union and its Member States to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive community by 2020. These three objectives are aimed to help lift Europe out of the global economic and financial crisis by creating jobs, increasing productivity and strengthening internal cohesion.
In the recently published EU Urban Agenda towns, cities and urban areas are defined as powerful engines for growth and jobs. Cities and regions are important contributors to achieving both the Europe 2020 Strategy and the EU Cohesion Policy. The EU policy focus is on cities and regions and on how cities and regions can stimulate the growth of human capital, innovation, entrepreneurship and investments in order to enhance economic dynamism.
The Committee of the Regions (CoR), which is an EU advisory body composed of locally and regionally elected representatives of 28 EU Member States supports the Europe 2020 Strategy, and emphasises the need to coordinate actions at all levels of government, including local and regional authorities. The European associations representing regional and local authorities, like the Assembly of European Regions (AER), Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and Eurocities all promote the active role of Municipalities and Regions in the construction of Europe.
Over the years, local and regional governments have proven that by collaborating, working together and exchanging best practices, they tackle challenges and find better solutions to pave the way for a better European future.
The Author, Hande Bozatli, is the Regional Business and Government Editor of EU Political Report.