News of the Cohesion Alliance on the follow up of future legislative and financial proposals :



 

The Alliance keeps on working following up, disseminating and advocating to keep Cohesion policy as an essential part of EU policies, and particularly at the dawn of the European Election 2019. While negotiations on budget and regulations still have to made their way through the Council, back to the Parliament and Commission, and some ups and downs are to be expected, Cohesion Alliance members are actively working to counterbalance the attempts for more centralisation and budget cuts, in order to guarantee that one third of the future EU budget is again earmarked for Cohesion Policy. The #CohesionAlliance offers various ways to take action.

At the dawn of the European Election 2019, Cohesion policy remains an essential topic, intrinsically intertwined to the future of the Union and European Integration. While negotiations on funding between the European Parliament and the Commission will probably restart after the elections, the Cohesion Alliance kept putting pressure on the institutions and the Member States in order to avoid further financial reductions and to make sure that the European citizens can still rely on a substantial and powerful Cohesion Policy in the future.

The Association of the European Border Regions (AEBR), as a member of the Cohesion Alliance, is actively involved in this process and is working to counterbalance the attempts for producing more governance centralisation and, also, for limiting the threats posed by the envisaged budget cuts.

At the moment Cohesion Policy is the EU’s main investment tool, mobilising over 350 billion euros from the 2014-2020 budget in order to produce more inclusive and sustainable growth in all European regions and through the involvement of local actors, which now have the possibility to act efficiently on their territories and to trigger development at a local level.

Therefore, the Cohesion Alliance’s main aim is to assure that one third of the future EU budget is again earmarked for Cohesion Policy, despite EU Commission proposal of a 10% cut of allocations presented in May 2018.

Nevertheless, AEBR and other members of the Alliance can count on the support of the European Parliament, which, instead, calls for a strengthening of cross-border cooperation, even including maritime basins and interregional cooperation, and increasing the funding. The EP, in fact, is decisively opposing any kind of top-down reform which may hinder the partnership principle or the involvement of local and regional actors. Thus, on 4 April, the Assembly rejected the proposal to set national – instead of regional – thresholds to concentrate ERDF funds on strategic objectives. Furthermore, it reinforced the local dimension of the fund by proposing to invest at least 10% of national allocations on urban areas and at least 5% on integrated territorial development in disadvantaged non-urban areas.

With its vote on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) on 4 April, the Parliament finished its position on the future of cohesion policy. The vote complemented the positions on the European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund, on the Common Provisions Regulation, and on the specific provisions for European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) adopted on 26 and 27 March.

While waiting to know the composition of the future European Parliament, the Cohesion Alliance will keep working for ensuring an effective financial support for the Cohesion Policy, considering as the core of the entire European integration mechanism.

The #CohesionAlliance welcomes Parliament's votes and calls on EU Member States to speed up negotiations to ensure the new investment plans are launched on time. The Alliance stresses keeping at least one third of future EU budget for Cohesion, and protects particularly Territorial Cohesion, asking to intensify CBC, including maritime and interregional cooperation (and investment).

There is a strong demand to avoid more centralisation, top-down reforms or gold-platting; and to reinforce decentralisation, partnership and subsidiarity. A place-based approach should be implemented where policy challenges are identified at regional and local level, and impact is based on good data and solid indicators.

National (instead of regional) thresholds are rejected, and local dimension is to be reinforced. European Social Fund Plus should be kept within Cohesion Policy, which is called to be a long-term investment tool for all European regions. There is also a strong agreement on flexibility, simplification and no macroeconomic conditionalities.

The position of the Council should be finished during the General Affairs Council (GAC) on 25 June. Therefore, there is only one month to ask Member States to ensure a strong Cohesion Policy. Afterwards, the proposed regulations will run their way during negotiations with the new Parliament and Commission up to a final agreement. The Alliance has called for an event on 10 July with new MEPS and Cohesion stakeholders to exchange views to better shape a Cohesion Policy for 2021-2027.

Regarding the budget, this seems to go more slowly, and Member States will need additional reminders on the need to create a consensus about a robust Cohesion Policy and adequate funding.

The #CohesionAlliance offers six ways to take action:

1. Send the Alliance a video statement of max 1 minute explaining why we need a strong EU cohesion policy, what it means for your community and what you expect for the future. Videos can be sent to CohesionAlliance@cor.europa.eu

2. Share your projects: Tweet or publish on Facebook or Instagram a picture from a project supported by EU cohesion funds showing the impact. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #CohesionAlliance (and #SocialnetAEBR too).

3. Hold an event in your community: contact the Alliance if you need support to organise an event on EU cohesion policy, if you need materials in your language, speakers etc.

4. Join the Petition: help us promote the online petition. It takes seconds to join and every signature counts

5. Let people know: we are developing material for partners which are being made available in this space (under "Materials for Partners"). Meanwhile:

  • #CohesionAlliance web banner can be downloaded here
  • #CohesionAlliance statement of principles is available in all languages on the alliance website homepage (you have just to select the relevant language on top right).

6. Share your view: many partners have already shared their positions on cohesion policy. Get in touch, share your ideas.

You can also check the Cohesion Alliance May bulletin here.

<< back