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Markkula welcomes decision to ensure continuity for structural funds in Spain and Portugal
​CoR President Markkula

​The President of the European Committee of the Regions, Markku Markkula, has described the EU's decision not to suspend structural funds in Spain and Portugal as "fair and forward-looking". He also welcomed the contribution by the EU Council to strengthen the role of cohesion policy which, he said, sends: "A clear message that cohesion policy must be strengthened, not replaced, to deliver sustainable growth for all of Europe's citizens".

President Markkula was reacting to the European Commission's announcement today concerning the potential suspension of structural funds in Spain and Portugal, which had initially been imposed due to the two member states not meeting EU budgetary rules, "At a time when there is clear gap in investment across Europe, we need to use every financial means available to deliver jobs for citizens and improve their quality of life", President Markkula remarked.
In recent months the European Committee of the Regions has argued that suspending EU structural funds was counterproductive to delivering economic growth and would unfairly penalise local and regional governments, "Suspending EU structural fund is harmful, unfair and politically unviable. We have shared evidence from the ground that such a decision would have negative consequences for Spain and Portugal's regions. I am delighted that the cooperation with the European Parliament and the Commission has achieved a more reasonable outcome", the Committee's President stressed.
 
Ministers, who met during the EU's General Affairs Council (GAC) dedicated to cohesion policy today, also concluded that cohesion policy must be 'accommodate social, economic and territorial challenges" and ensure the 'continuity and stability of multi-annual programmes". "By assessing the impact of the new fiscal rules introduced for 2014-2020, the European Council has paved the way towards a revision of the link between structural funds and EU economic governance. This must take into account the needs of EU regions and cities if Europe is to progress and move forward"
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