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Press Release

The EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives


Brussels, 20/11/2012

CoR reiterates opposition to any reduction to the cohesion budget for 2014-2020

President Valcárcel: "Cohesion budget is the main investment tool to overcome the economic crisis".

The Committee of the Regions has issued a stark warning against the on-going trend towards increasing cuts to the EU budget whilst reaffirming its commitment to ensure that cohesion policy delivers the expected results for sustainable growth and jobs.

President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Ramón Luis Valcárcel, drew attention to the potentially negative impact on cohesion policy caused by the progressively downsized allocations for the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 since last July. "If this trend goes on, Europe's strategy for growth and jobs risk to be seriously compromised and the weakening of our main stimulus measures for growth could delegitimise the efforts for financial consolidation while harming economic recovery" said President Valcárcel.

CoR First Vice-President and MFF rapporteur, Mercedes Bresso, underlined this point noting that: "The commitment undertaken in June through the adoption of the Growth Compact must be consistently mirrored in the MFF and the crucial role of cohesion policy must be duly acknowledged through adequate funding. In order to reduce Member States' contributions to the European budget the EU's own resources should play a bigger role".

In view of the last delicate phase of the on-going MFF negotiations, the Committee of the Regions has reiterated its agenda which focuses on the following key points:

  • A strong and effective cohesion policy is a prerequisite for setting an EU growth agenda. European cohesion policy represents both the EU's main public investment tool and a considerable levy for additional investments. Therefore it needs an adequate budget of at least the same level as the one agreed for the current programming period 2007-2013.

  • Cohesion policy must remain accessible to all European regions ensuring that all regions in Europe take part in the deepening of European integration. This means that regions with the widest disparities should be given priority, while regional disparities in relatively richer countries should not be ignored. The establishment of a category for transition regions which, according to the latest figures published by Eurostat in March 2012 on regional GDP in 2009, would concern a growing number of regions affected by the crisis.

  • Cohesion policy cannot become a sanctioning tool linked to macroeconomic conditionality. The stability pact and cohesion policy pursue different goals. Regional and local authorities should not be penalised for mistakes made by Member States.

  • Cohesion policy needs a stronger territorial focus and appropriate flexibility through increased attention on the urban and rural dimensions.

  • The CoR supports the Commission's key proposals such as partnership agreements, code of conduct and the linkage with the Europe 2020 strategy objectives. The partnership principle must be enforced through the direct involvement of local and regional authorities, with due respect to national legislation.

  • The CoR proposes to establish a flexibility reserve created from the automatic decommitment of resources and used for funding experimental initiatives in the area of smart, sustainable or inclusive growth.

The Committee of the Regions

The Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. The mission of its 344 members from all 27 EU Member States is to involve regional and local authorities and the communities they represent in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council are obliged to consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. It can appeal to the EU Court of Justice if its rights are infringed or it believes that an EU law violates the subsidiarity principle or fails to respect regional or local powers.

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Pierluigi Boda

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