I am currently visiting the South of Italy to address the main issues preventing Calabria, Campania and Sicily to fully exploit the potential of Cohesion Policy today, and to pave the way for the success of the Policy in the future.
I was in Calabria yesterday where I met with Undersecretary of State Mr. De Vincenti, in charge of Cohesion Policy, Mr. Delrio, Minister for Transport and Infrastructures and the representatives of the Regional authorities of Calabria, Campania and Sicily. On this occasion I endorsed the action plans for the 2007-2013 programmes for Calabria, Campania, Sicily and "Networks and Mobility", drawn within the framework of the Task Force on Better Implementation.
These action plans focus on region-specific, short-term solutions to speed up the implementation of the 2007-2013 programmes, while making sure the EU funds are spent in a strategic and efficient way, with the regions' economic wealth and the wellbeing of the inhabitants at heart.
I want to congratulate the Italian authorities for the efforts they put in this exercise, which I consider of strategic importance to avoid the loss of vital resources for these regions at a moment of economic and financial difficulties. Endorsing the action plans means that the Commission is ready to support the Italian national and regional authorities in the improvement of their absorption capacity, while making clear that the applicable rules need to be respected at all times.
Within this context, we all have the moral obligation and duty to optimise the use of resources and avoid any potential losses; we owe it to all EU citizens.
This trip to Italy and my meetings with the stakeholders in charge of EU funds convinced that we were all on the same page; within the rules, we will do everything to ensure a swift implementation of the 2007-2013 programmes and together we will draw important lessons for the future.