Markku Markkula named President of European Committee of Regions

Finnish innovation knowledge and startup skills are in demand as factors that strengthen European economic growth.

Markku Markkula, an advisor to the administration of Aalto University, has been selected as president of the European Committee of the Regions for the coming two and a half years. Markkula is the first Nordic citizen to be appointed to the post of president of the committee.

The European Committee of the Regions is composed of 350 representatives of regional and local administration in 28 member states, each of which are experts in the region that they represent.

Markkula says that one of the most motivating aspects in his new task is the goal of confirming Finnish in innovation expertise among EU decision-makers. At the moment Europe is sorely in need of concrete means for creating growth and jobs. Markkula emphasised that actions taken by cities, municipalities, and regions are decisive issues for the 315 billion euro investment package.

'In the Committee of the Regions we can influence what the goals of investments will be, as money is invested specifically in regions and cities. We also need to create better preconditions for dynamic entrepreneurial activities and enterprise. Finnish startup activities are a very good example of what is possible. This is an activity whose volume should soon be increased many times over', Markkula observed as he spoke at the full session of the Committee after he was elected.

The importance of the committee is beyond question: The European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission are required to hear the views of the Committee before passing legislation, or making any other decisions affecting local and regional administration. The Finnish delegation contains nine members and nine alternates. Markkula has been a member of the Committee since 2010.

In his work as an advisor specialised in the EU's research, innovation, and education policy, Markkula has persevered in the advancement of dialogue between scientific communities and EU decision-makers and has drafted statements concerning research and development policy and innovativeness.

Markkula would also like to see stronger interaction among municipalities, companies, and universities.

'I am sure that collaboration among representatives of students, innovators, and industry can create interesting new solutions for enabling digitalisation and smart growth, for instance. Interesting pilot projects and encouraging new concepts that are being brought forward to the different regions of the EU are in a key position.'

The EU's Committee of the Regions has 353 members (and an equal number of alternate members) who represent all 28 EU member states. The Committee of the Regions is an advisory body whose mission is to bring the views of municipalities and regions forward in the preparation of EU legislation. The Committee issues statements to the Commission, the Council, and the Parliament on many matters related to EU legislation. The Committee has nine Finnish members, one of whom represents the Åland Islands.

 

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