François Decoster will lead the Renew Europe Group as the European Committee of the Regions begins its new mandate 2020 – 2025.
Decoster, currently Mayor of Saint-Omer, France, and since August 2019 head of cabinet of the French State Secretary for Diplomacy, Trade, Tourism & Development, is no stranger to the European Committee of the Regions and European politics.
Member since 2012, he was Chair of the Citizenship, Governance and External Relations (CIVEX) commission from 2015 to 2017, Vice-President of our group since 2015, and also chair of the French delegation of the CoR 2017-2020. He served as member of the EU Taskforce on Subsidiarity and Proportionality for 2018-2019, and has been CoR rapporteur several times, including on the European Agenda on Migration, the Rights and Values Programme, and the Erasmus for Local Councillors.
Since 2014 he dedicates his work to local, regional and European responsibilities, bringing to our Presidency a wide range of skills from his previous experiences in administration, politics and education, making him a versatile, dynamic and resourceful advocate for a more liberal Europe.
Decoster began his 20-year career at the private office of the French Defence Minister; became parliamentary Assistant to two MEPs and was coordinator of the delegation of French MEPs of the EDP group and served as technical advisor to the French Minister Delegate for European Affairs.
Politically, besides his work in the CoR, he was elected as Mayor of Saint-Omer in 2014, served as President of the Saint-Omer metropolitan district (gathering 53 urban and rural towns) until October 2019 and was Vice-President in charge of Culture for the Région Hauts-de-France until September 2019. He is still active for these two organisations as councillor.
Academically, Decoster enjoyed teaching at Sciences-Po Paris, Sciences-Po Lille and Paris-Assas University for many years, mainly on European issues. He is a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, teaching a seminar on EU Transport and Space Policies. While serving as Diplomatic Advisor to the French Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Housing, Tourism and Sea he also published a book on EU transport policy.