European Parliament and local leaders seek increase in EU funding for climate change and social policy over the next decade  

The European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) are the most powerful investment programmes in the EU budget, worth more than €240bn until 2020. The European Parliament (EP) and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) kicked off today their cooperation to secure that, in the phase 2021-2027, regions and cities keep playing a key role in the fund's management and more resources are devoted to fight against climate change and to social policy.

The EP rapporteur on the ERDF CF 2021-2027, Andrea Cozzolino (S&D/IT) and the CoR rapporteur and Member of the Executive Council of the Province of Flevoland Michiel Rijsberman (ALDE/NL), kicked off today their joint work to improve the European Commission's proposal on the new fund's regulation , tabled last 29 May.

" We are focusing on two key priorities: the ERDF, by definition, must respond to the specific needs of our regions and cities, any centralisation or 'nationalisation' of rules, objectives and criteria should be therefore avoided ", stressed the two politicians, referring, in particular, to the proposed provisions that establish national thresholds to concentrate funding on specific objectives.

With regards to spending goals, Mr Cozzolino and Mr Rijsberman agreed that: "The thematic concentration of funding has proved to work well in the current period but, in the next phase, regions and cities should be put in the condition of allocate investments on climate change, social policy and urban development, without being trapped by complex thresholds, imposed from above ".

Higher minimum allocations for sustainable urban development, as well as how to increase funding for the reduction of risks connected to natural disasters were also discussed. Simplification, flexibility, territorial focus will be key drivers for the elaboration of the amendments to the regulation proposed by the European Commission.

According to Mr Rijsberman, " The European Fund for Regional Development succeeded in creating jobs, improving the quality of life in our regions, increasing energy efficiency, stimulating innovation. It must continue to play its role without any centralisation towards Brussels or national governments, showing the impact of the EU in each and every European region and city" .

" European citizens need a stronger EU support in dealing with social change and marginalisation risks. The ERDF can make a difference in supporting regions' and cities' policies to fight against disparities and deliver social innovation and inclusion in our communities " stressed Mr Cozzolino.

The adoption of the EP and CoR position on the future ERDF is scheduled for December 2018 and represents a major step in the preparation of EU's cohesion policy 2021-2027.

Background note

The European Regional Development Fund is the main instrument of EU's cohesion policy, worth over €350 billion between 2014 and 2020– the EU's main investment tool that works to reduce regional disparities, create jobs, open new business opportunities and address major global issues such as climate change and migration. It is the only EU policy that covers all of Europe's local communities, involving local stakeholders to deliver growth strategies led by shared EU goals.

To make the case for a stronger cohesion policy after 2020, the CoR, together with leading EU territorial associations, has launched the #CohesionAlliance : a grass-roots movement open to anyone who believes that EU cohesion policy must continue to act as a pillar of the EU's future. Since its launch in October last year, the Alliance has continued to attract new signatories every day, including regional and local authorities, business associations, academia, trade unions and think tanks. There are now more than 5500 signatories, including hundreds of regions and cities covering over 90% of the EU's population. Several leading MEPs, including Mr Cozzolino, signed up the alliance declaration .

More information about the #CohesionAlliance initiatives, statements and position papers are available at http://cohesionalliance.eu