EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27 and Recovery Plan respond to CoR's requests to support the recovery of regional and local communities. They provide an answer to populists and euro-sceptics, proving the added value of the European Union.
Commenting on the EU MFF and Recovery plan proposed by the European Commission, the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas said: "The EU budget worth €1.100bn and the €750bn Recovery Plan focus on the safety, recovery and resilience of regions, cities and villages across Europe and include the key elements demanded by the European Committee of Regions. They also provide a clear answer to populists and euro-sceptics, proving the added value of the European Union during these difficult times. I call on EU's Member States and on the European Parliament to assess and adopt swiftly the proposals presented today by President Ursula von der Leyen.
''As asked by the European Committee of the Regions, the new draft EU budget includes an EU Recovery Fund of at least EUR €500bn in grants. It introduces a new Healthcare program bringing together all levels of government – EU, national and regional – to improve health services and facilities across the continent. The proposal reinvigorates the EU's cohesion policy, with more than €373bn allocations, strengthens rural development investing €90bn, and boosts the just transition with a €40bn fund. In line with our demands, the Commission's plans also provide important answers for vital sectors as tourism, culture and SMEs'', added President Tzitzikostas.
The Chair of the CoR Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER),Isabelle Boudineau (FR/PES), commented: "Beyond the numbers of the new proposal, it is essential that European resources arrive quickly and are invested usefully on the ground. Regions and cities know best in which areas or sectors we need to invest to tackle the consequences of the crisis and prepare the future. This cannot be a top-down exercise, so we need a reformed European Semester that involves local and regional authorities and focuses on the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. If the European Union fails us by delaying the decisions on the MFF and the recovery plan, the consequences will be disastrous socially, economically and moreover politically".
The first CoR Vice-President, Vasco Cordeiro (PT/PES), said: ''The multiannual financial framework proposed by the Commission increases support for cities and regions to overcome the social and economic difficulties and to decrease the territorial inequalities and disparities among citizens. This is a crucial aspect not only for cohesion policy – which is needed now more than ever - but for the whole recovery plan and EU budget. All funds should be easily accessible to our regions and cities in order to act steadily and ensure that EU investments are effective and target the real needs of our citizens".
The CoR Rapporteur on the Multiannual Financial Framework, Nikola Dobroslavić (HR/EPP), said: ''I welcome the Commission's plans to introduce an extension of current cohesion policy programmes with additional funding until 2022, and to strengthen the level of 2021-27 regional policy investment for sustainable growth and resilience. This will support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth and sustainable development. The CoR is determined to continue its work to increase the visibility of the EUs budget and of its added value for people's lives".
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Committee of the Regions has been the voice of the one million regional and local elected politicians across Europe.
In its Declaration adopted on 8 May the CoR asked for:
1) A plan for a sustainable, resilient and social Europe including an EU Recovery Fund, connected to an ambitious EU budget and based on European debt insurance, worth at least € 500 billion.
2) An EU Health Mechanism to purchase medical supply and to assess, refit and monitor regional health systems' capacity investing on healthcare resilience and sustainability.
3) Funding schemes to help regional and local communities compensate local tax losses and reengineer public services making them digital, sustainable and resilient;
4) Simplified procedures to fund sustainable local infrastructure.
5) Dedicated facilities and legal arrangements to support for SMEs, tourism, culture.
6) A rural inclusion plan to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and connectivity in rural areas.
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