This Opinion aims to express the view of the CoR on the proposal for a new Regulation on the ERDF and on the CF presented by the European Commission (EC) on 29 May 2018.
Concerning the impact of the Opinion on the ERDF CF regulation, the proposals of the Committee of the Regions have been taking on board by the first reading report of the European Parliament adopted on 27 March 2019. Both positions were convergent on many different issues, such as:
• The REGI report and the CoR Opinion object to the proposal that the ERDF/CF thematic concentration should focus on categories of regions according to their GDP per capita.
• The CoR underlines the necessity to implement a multi-fund approach with the ESF+ and, where appropriate, with the EAFRD and the EMFF. This is line with the REGI report. In addition, the EP first reading resolution suggests to earmark 5 % of ERDF funding at national level for integrated territorial development in rural, mountain, islands and coastal regions, isolated and sparsely populated and all other areas that have difficulty accessing basic services including also at NUTS 3 level.
• The CoR opinion supports the increased focus on sustainable urban development by dedicating 6% of ERDF resources at national level to this area. The Parliament is even more ambitious, asking for 10% to be allocated to sustainable urban development.
• Both the Parliament and the CoR suggest including in the ERDF/CF regulation a new article referring to areas covered by Article 174 of the TFEU, as well as other areas with severe and permanent natural or demographic disadvantages, such as an ageing population and with an average annual population decrease.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- notes with concern that the Commission's proposal for a multi-annual financial framework provides for a sharp decrease in the Cohesion Fund budget of 46% and a stable budget for the ERDF (+1%);
- objects to the proposal that the ERDF thematic concentration will focus on the national level; this centralised allocation mechanism goes against the place-based approach and the multilevel governance principle of Cohesion Policy;
- regrets that the EAFRD has been taken out of the Common Provision Regulation that sets out common rules applicable to various funds and underlines the necessity of strong complementarities between the ERDF and the ESF+ in order to carry out integrated and comprehensive initiatives at local level (ITI and CLLD);
- notes that Member States are encouraged to transfer 5% of ERDF or CF resources to the new InvestEU instrument and also to transfer a further 5% of their ERDF allocation to EU programmes managed by the EC. However, the shared management approach has had a demonstrated impact on the economic, social and territorial cohesion for Europe. Any transfer by the Member State should be decided with the involvement of the local and regional partners in line with the partnership principle and multilevel government;
- supports the increased focus on sustainable urban development by dedicating 6% of ERDF resources at national level to this area;
- includes in the ERDF objectives support for areas with geographical or demographic handicaps, including regions suffering from high ageing, depopulation and migration. Includes furthermore, the possibility to receive additional funding for capacity building;
- encourages further "greening" of the Funds, enabling regions to finance actions for climate-adaptation, including promoting resilience to natural disasters.