The current programming period of cohesion policy is set until 2020. However, the discussions already started behind the doors of the European Commission and other institutions, especially as we are coming close to the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which will serve as a strong working base to prepare the post-2020 period. The EU Cohesion policy, as one of the biggest beneficiary of the EU budget, will obviously be discussed as well as the question whether Cohesion policy should cover all regions or only less developed regions in the future. This could be questioned as it is the only policy solely dedicated to the benefit of the regions and as such gives visibility to the regions of Europe and legitimation of regions as such.
Each decision taken in the framework of the discussions for the MFF will impact regions. Yet, the regions are not included in the decision-making process of the Multiannual Financial Framework. We do have a voice in shaping the content of EU Cohesion policy, yet no voice with regards to the MFF negotiations.
The region of Lower Austria (AT) launched an initiative to gather all regions of Europe to make their voices heard by the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of the EU, as the regions are not included in the discussions about their own future. As stated by Erwin Pröll, Governor of Lower Austria, “(as) many European regions as possible and their interregional organisations as well as the European Committee of the Regions need to make a strong commitment for EU Cohesion policy. The more regions and organisations participate in this initiative the better is our democratic justification for this demand and the higher are the chances for the continuation of the EU Cohesion policy as a policy for all regions.”
AER took at active role in the Lower Austria initiative together with regional representation offices in Brussels. On top of the technical work, AER President, Dr. Hande Özsan Bozatli, headed a delegation of member regions to meet with Commissioner Crețu in order to discuss the first outcome of this initiative. We invite you all to join the initiative by signing the declaration by and sending it back to the AER Secretariat by 15 July .
The Book with all the signed political declarations will be handed in to the Presidents of the EU institutions at the Summit of the Regions on 28 September, with the attendance of regional and international media. The Presidents of the AER member regions are invited to attend the Summit together with the AER President, to raise awareness and exercise influence as early as possible in this key process of shaping a renewed EU Cohesion Policy after 2020.
|Letter from Erwin Pröll, Governor of Lower Austria, to the AER members|
For your signature: Political declaration “a strong renewed cohesion policy for all regions”
You want more information about this initiative or wish to remain informed about the next activities of AER regarding EU Cohesion Policy? Please contact Alexandre Brecx (+32 2 400 10 50).