On 12 October 2021, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will present the second edition of the EU Annual Regional and Local Barometer report, a fact-based and analytical document presenting a comprehensive state of play of EU regions and cities in a given year. Its main findings will be included in the CoR President Apostolos Tzitzikostas' annual speech on the state of EU regions and cities, discussed during a high-level debate at the CoR plenary session and incorporated into an eponymous resolution.
Last year, the focus of the first edition was on the effects of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, which put Europe's regional and local authorities (LRAs) on the frontline in tackling the unparalleled crisis. Since then, Europe has turned to the longer-term challenges of building resilient communities: this year's edition fully captures this ever-present emphasis on resilience.
The 160-page report is divided into eight chapters while a ninth one sum m arises its key findings and provides action-oriented recommendations aim ed at EU LRAs, Member St at es and EU institutions. The report builds on (i) several in-depth CoR studies and (ii) desk research taking into account data and analyses from a variety of sources as well as joint work with some of the CoR's key partners, such as ESPON, the JRC, the OECD and territorial associations. Moreover, as in 2020, a special Eurobarometer Flash survey was carried out, this time gathering locally elected politicians? views on the future of Europe (see the article 'Local politicians in the EU-27 and their views on the future of Europe' in this volume ).
The 2021 Barometer looks at the state of EU regions and cities with regard to the following topics and provides, inter alia, answers to the following questions' as well as many others.
A territorial economic, social and employment state of play (Chapter 1). Which factors can explain the asymmetric resilience of EU territories? To what extent have local and regional finances been affected by the crisis?
EU recovery plans and cohesion policy (Chapter 2). How can we ensure that EU recovery funding is spent where it is most needed? Are LRAs sufficiently involved in the adoption and implementation processes of the Recovery and Resilience Facility?
The green t ransit ion and clim at e (Chapt er 3). Does the EU recovery framework truly enable a green recovery?
The digital transition (Chapter 4). To what extent is the digital transition accelerated by the crisis? What are the COVID-19-induced changes to the economy and their consequences for regions?
The health situation (Chapter 5). How can the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the roll-out of vaccination campaigns be assessed from a territorial health perspective?
Brexit (Chapt er 6). Is the definitive impact of Brexit already visible?
Migration (Chapt er 7). What is the state of play regarding migration in EU regions?
Democracy (Chapter 8). What are the challenges and opportunities for European democracy in the aftermath of the pandemic?
All chapters present visuals in the form of statistics, maps and other graphs, as well as stories and examples from cities and regions.
The full version of the report will be available on the home page of the European Committee of the Regions? website on 12 October 2021.
Marine Siva Policy Officer, ECON Commission, CoR