Joint REGI/COTER meeting
A joint meeting between the European Parliaments Regional Committee and the Committee of the Regions COTER Commission was held on the 9th October in the Parliament on the Future of cohesion policy with discussion on the proposal of the new European structural and investment funds (ESIF) regulations.
Delivering the keynote speech Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional policy highlighted Cohesion policy as the main investment policy of the regions and outlined thematic challenges in EU proximity to its citizens, preparing the ground for a green fertile Europe of enterprise and creating a simpler more dynamic delivery system.
Ms Creţu requested the help of the European Parliament, Committee of the Regions and all stakeholders to speed up the process of adoption of the ESIF to avoid delays in implementation for the next programme period and to create a Europe of Results that is a "Smarter Europe with more competitive enterprises and a low carbon economy to better serve the planet".
There was much subsequent discussion around the direction of future Cohesion policy with many repeating the calls for greater simplification, transparency and defence of Regional policy with fears over ESIF proposals that could reduce the role of Regions. This included concerns of subsidiarity in power over funding, budgetary cuts and framework changes to European territorial cooperation, conditionalities, solidarity, the issue of climate change/green priorities and a related proposal in the Common Provisions Regulation to change to a 5+2 years programming.
Take away message
COTER and REGI members work together to make the future cohesion policy better and stronger. There is a common understanding of responsibilities to deliver Cohesion policy to the European citizens as efficiently as possible. The future Cohesion policy should focus on a smarter Europe with more competitive enterprises and a low carbon economy. The next steps for both institutions are clear with an ambitious timetable. Policymakers have a great responsibility to shape a really modernised cohesion policy beyond 2020.
"Relaunching the EU requires a stronger cohesion policy for all regions, as defended by the CoR together with the EU associations of regions and cities, MEPs and all partners of the #CohesionAlliance. The Committee and the European Parliament are made of elected politicians, we know well that the EU has to deliver new answers to citizens' needs and that cohesion policy can make a difference in this effort. This why we work together to make it better and stronger." said COTER Chair Mr Petr Osvald.
Commissioner Corina Creţu requested the help of the European Parliament, Committee of the Regions and all stakeholders to speed up the process of adoption of the ESIF to avoid delays in implementation for the next programme period and to create a Europe of results.
Chair Iskra Mihaylova concluded "It is clear there is a common vision for the future of Cohesion Policy. The message of this meeting today is there is an understanding of responsibilities to deliver the options of Cohesion policy to the European citizens as efficiently as possible and be simpler, flexible and closer to its citizens."