GUE/NGL MEP Younous Omarjee has been elected as President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI) this week.

Omarjee was nominated for the position on behalf of the GUE/NGL group following his tireless work during the previous legislatures to improve the situation of those living in Europe’s Outermost Regions, less-developed regions and islands, and his work in defending the EU’s Cohesion Policy.

Elected as an MEP since 2012, Omarjee’s dedication and achievements for Europe’s regions even earned him the title of ‘Best MEP’ from The Parliament magazine in 2018.

This is the first time that a French Member has been elected as chair of this committee and the first time that a Member from the Outermost Regions has been elected as chair of any of the European Parliament’s committees.

Younous Omarjee comments: “A big thank you to all my colleagues for their trust and to my comrades for their support. It is with great pride that I accept this position and I hope to serve the public interest with dignity and efficiency.”

“I am a strong advocate of Cohesion Policy, so I will make the fight against poverty throughout Europe and the interests of the islands two of my priorities.

“Cohesion and solidarity are needed more than ever in a Europe that is going through a major ongoing economic, social, environmental and democratic crisis.”

The role of the REGI Committee will be an important one in the coming year, amidst the upcoming conclusion of Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 (MFF).

“I will be pushing for an ambitious MFF for the regions which are often in budgetary difficulties, and for an MFF which ensures the harmonious development of all European regions. I will be working for better alternatives to the European and global trends of perpetuating regional inequalities and deepening new forms of urban poverty,” Omarjee explains.

The REGI Committee will be responsible for finalising the upcoming legislative package on the future of the 350 billion euro Cohesion Policy, including the structural funds for regional development (ERDF).

“I will be advocating to ensure a substantial amount for the regions and sufficient co-financing rates so as not to penalise them, as well as defending the simplified European funds, and orienting these towards employment and the environment,” Omarjee concludes.

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