Commissioner for Regional Policy
Better Spending and Effectiveness for Cohesion Policy to Deliver Growth and Jobs
6 November 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Effectiveness must be central to our discussions as we focus on Cohesion Policy investments clearly towards the creation of growth and jobs.
This meeting takes place at a crucial point in time. The Special European Council later this month is expected to reach agreement on the MFF. Today we need to send a very clear signal on what this Policy is about.
Cohesion Policy is changing dramatically from a mere solidarity instrument to an investment policy as well, aimed at raising competitiveness, employment opportunities, and standards of living everywhere in the Union.
This requires four interrelated elements.
First, we should endorse without hesitation the "better spending" agenda. Let me remind you of the key components of the Commission proposal:
Clear, measurable and transparent definitions of our objectives. What do we want to achieve with the available money?
Focused investment to yield more impact.
Framework conditions (ex-ante conditionalities) must be in place to allow investments to be made in the most effective way.
I welcome that Council has agreed on major parts of the legislative package. But we need to avoid sending conflicting messages on our commitment to really reform the Policy, and make it robust for the future.
Second, Cohesion Policy investments must be closely linked to the European semester. We cannot isolate Cohesion Policy investment from wider economic processes and the European Economic Governance cycle. That doesn’t mean annual reprogramming exercises to take into account country specific recommendations. But if substantial new challenges are identified, Cohesion Policy investment should not ignore these.
Third, we need a credible budget.
The quality of spending and level of budget go together. I will defend and I count on all of you to defend not only the level of the Cohesion Policy budget, but also its balance. Cuts which change fundamentally that balance cannot be accepted by the Commission.
The fourth and final element, is we need increased coordination and political accountability on every level.
Better integration of instruments for funding always provides superior results This concerns coordination mechanisms between those responsible for the different funds in each Member State, but also between those responsible for other policy areas and instruments: like research and development, innovation and transport.
As a conclusion, I count on you (Presidency and EP) to ensure good progress in the talks ahead. Be assured that Commission will provide all necessary support.