Assembly of European Regions – Committee of the Regions, Brussels
Albert Castellanos Maduell, President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), envisions a future where Cohesion Policy remains agile, responding adeptly to the changing landscape of European regional development.
In an exclusive interview with the European Committee of the Regions, Castellanos discusses the pressing challenges facing Cohesion Policy, the role of AER, and his vision for a cohesive and sustainable European Union.
“One of the main challenges I see is ensuring that Cohesion Policy continues to promote economic and social convergence among European regions, especially in the context of new challenges like climate change and digitalization,” Castellanos reflects.
He underscores the necessity for Cohesion Policy to adapt, promoting sustainable growth across European regions.
Castellanos emphasises the need for Cohesion Policy to remain flexible and responsive, addressing the evolving needs of European regions.
“My vision for the future of Cohesion Policy is one that remains flexible, responsive and geared towards addressing the evolving needs of European regions,” he asserts. He believes AER can influence this vision by actively engaging with policymakers at the EU level.
“The European Green Deal presents a significant opportunity for Cohesion Policy to drive sustainability initiatives,” Castellanos observes.
He highlights the role of AER in advocating for green investments and fostering regional cooperation to realise the objectives of the Green Deal.
“In the digital age, digital inclusion emerges as a critical imperative,” Castellanos notes.
He outlines Cohesion Policy’s role in promoting digital infrastructure and skills development, ensuring that no region is left behind in the digital transition.
AER, he suggests, can facilitate knowledge-sharing and collaboration among regions to maximise the benefits of digitalisation.
Looking ahead, Castellanos outlines his plans to enhance AER’s role as a catalyst for regional dialogue and cooperation.
“Initiatives such as the task force on Cohesion Policy will promote knowledge-sharing and capacity-building among member regions,” he affirms.
Such efforts will ensure effective utilisation of Cohesion Policy funds and resources.
Albert Castellanos brings a wealth of experience to his role as President of AER, combining expertise in economic management with a deep commitment to regional development.
His vision for Cohesion Policy reflects a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing European regions, underscoring the pivotal role of AER in shaping a cohesive and sustainable future for Europe.