Marek Woźniak (PL/EPP), Marshal of the Wielkopolska region and Committee of the Regions (CoR) rapporteur of the draft opinion on the Common Strategic Framework (CSF), attended the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development (REGI) to share the CoR point of view on this issue.
Marek Woźniak said that, "The CoR fully supports the recommendation of the European Parliament (EP) and Council that the CSF should be adopted as an annex to the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) rather than as a delegated act."
He continued saying that this was because, "this is the only way for the CoR to be formally involved in the legislative work, in line with article 177 of the Treaty".
The CoR rapporteur expressed concerns about, "the negotiations going on between the EC and the EP to split the CSF in two parts", one part to be included as an annex to the CPR and a second part consisting of a list of key actions to be adopted by the delegated act. The list of key actions could be inconsistent with the investment priorities and some projects on which local and regional authorities are keen could fall out of the scope. So, Marek Wózniak added that, "the CSF list should be a non-exclusive list of the most effective actions to achieve the investment priorities".
During his intervention in the REGI Committee, Marek Wózniak also stressed the key role played by the funds covered by the CPR in supporting the Europe 2020 Strategy and the need, "to spell out the coordination mechanism in order to make those five funds and other mechanisms to coexist".
Hoping that the future regulation will be helpful for regional governments to come forward with operational programmes, he also stressed the necessity on that matter should, "take into account the regional specificities across the European Union". Additionally he stressed the need of a "multi-thematic approach", something that the EC failed to deliver and he appreciated the emphasis placed on the link between the Funds covered by the CPR and other instruments such as Horizon 2020 or the LIFE programme.
Finally, the CoR rapporteur proposed to include the "multilevel governance and partnership" as a third horizontal principle along with "gender equality and non discrimination" and "sustainable development". He concluded by stressing the lack of emphasis in the list of key actions made by the EC when referring to "integrated territorial investments" and to "particular territorial features", "rural areas" and to a harmonised definition of territories across funds.
The debate on the CPR also focused mostly on key elements such as simplification of policy delivery, the optimisation of synergies, and the use or not of the macroeconomic conditionality, the categorisation of regions and the rise of the co-financing from 75% to 80%.
Constanze Angela Krehl (S&D), EP co-rapporteur on the proposed text, stressed that "most of the amendments presented are in a similar direction. They asked for the role of regional and local authorities, more flexibility, for control and simplification of the mechanism and thematic concentration ". So, "the EP will come with a strong position" and "a solid bases to negotiate the issue with EC and Council", she added.
The other EP co-rapporteur, Lambert Van Nistelrooij (EPP), underlined that the EP "will take as much as possible on board from the debate" with all the actors, including the CoR. He stressed that the Council is ready to negotiate with the EP and go ahead with the co-legislation procedure. Finally, he added that the regional development policy is "an investment plan for Europe and an important policy for recovery, for growth and jobs, and in relation with Europe 2020 Strategy."
Note to editors
The Common Strategic Framework (CSF) aims at translating the targets and objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy into concrete investment priorities for 5 EU funds: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund (CF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which are all characterised by a decentralised management and a strong territorial dimension. The CSF will highlight possible complementarities between the 5 funds, as well as with other EU policies and programmes, and provide an indicative framework for the subsequent preparation of partnership contracts and operational programmes in each of the 27 EU Member States. As such it is therefore an essential document for local and regional authorities across the EU.
The CoR draft opinion on CSF will be discussed and adopted in the COTER commission on 2 July and will subsequently be submitted for adoption by the CoR plenary session on 9-10 October 2012.
A survey through the CoR Europe 2020 monitoring platform is ongoing until the end of June 2012 and aims at supporting the work of the rapporteur.