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The impact of COVID-19 on EU regional and local governments

Nov 23, 2020 | Opinions

(23 November 2020) – A joint survey by OECD and the European Committee of the Regions shows that beyond the human and health tragedy, COVID-19 has a profound effect on local and regional authorities.

© OECD / CoR

To better understand the current crisis, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) carried out an online survey in June and July 2020 on The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on regional and local governments.

Translated into all the languages of the European Union, the questionnaire collected 300 replies from representatives of regional, intermediate or local authorities in 24 EU Member States. Some of the survey’s key findings fed into the first EU-wide Annual Regional and Local Barometer.

The majority of respondents (63%) expect the COVID-19 crisis to have a significantly negative impact on subnational governments.

In the short and medium-terms, most subnational governments expect the socio-economic crisis linked to COVID-19 to have a negative impact on their finances, with a dangerous “scissors effect” of increasing expenditure and falling revenues.

The COVID-19 crisis presents decision-makers with an opportunity to reshape regional development policy. The top three priorities are ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality basic services, including health, across all territories (76%); increasing regional resilience (69%); and reducing the digital divide across regions (68%).

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