Brussels, 8 May 2012
In the frame of the EP Committee on Regional Development (REGI), representatives of the EU major regional organisations were invited on 8 May 2012 for an exchange of views with MEPS on the post 2013 EU Cohesion Policy.
The extraordinary meeting chaired by Danuta Hübner, President of the REGI Committee, focused on the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy Legislative Package proposed by the European Commission last year, that will be adopted by the REGI Committee in July 2012.
The objective of the meeting was to provide members of the REGI Committee with practical proposals to the reports on the future of cohesion, notably the “Krehl-Van Nistelrooij Report”, on the Common Provisions Regulation, the “Olbrycht Report”on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the “Irigoyen Perez Report” on the European Social Found (ESF) and the “Manner Report” on the Territorial cooperation.
The positions of the major regional organisations are remarkably close to those of the European Parliament, particularly on key issues such as partnership arrangements, thematic concentration, ex ante conditionality, the simplification of procedures and the territorial dimension and cooperation.
Moreover, the three organisations call for an agreement on the financial framework before the end of the year and support an ambitious budget in order to create a real economic growth in Europe. “The European Commission has proposed to link the Common Strategic Framework (CSF) to the new EU economic governance, which means linking the cohesion policy to the country specific recommendations issued annually. It seems to me that this would constitute an additional layer of conditionality and goes against the very principles of partnership and multi level governance, since decisions would be taken at Member States level with no involvement of regions and their managing authorities. It would also severely put into question pluriannual programming, which is one of the fundamentals of Cohesion Policy.” Declared Jean-Yves Le Drian, President of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) and President of Brittany (FR).
“We fully concur with the principle of concentrating European funds on a reduced number of themes linked to the Europe 2020 Strategy. Already today, many regions focus on a limited number of political priorities. We do however insist on the need of making decisions on these priorities in close cooperation with the beneficiary regions. It is essential to implement bottom-up actions, so as to ensure that the themes fully match the regions’ needs and the potential of their territories. They should not, in any case, be imposed by Europe or by the Member States.” Added Michèle Sabban, President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and Vice-President of the Ile de France (FR).
“We wish to see local and regional authorities treated as partners of the Member states, and not as stakeholders. The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) calls for the full involvement of local and regional governments in the preparation of the partnership contracts and are very pleased to see that the rapporteurs have tabled amendments to the European Commission’s draft regulation that reflect our view to a large extent.” Concluded Carola Gunnarsson, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) rapporteur on territorial and cohesion policy, 1st Vice-President of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER – aer.eu) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 250 regions from 35 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
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