The Committee praises the Parliament's efforts to secure stronger EU's action on health research and Erasmus+, Recovery Plans' democratic scrutiny and new financial means for the Union
"The agreement is a sign of hope for local communities coping with the pandemic's second wave. The final adoption must follow soon to ensure funds reach them in the first half of 2021. In case of delays, vital investment carried out in 2021 – even before the entry into force of new budget - must be retrospectively eligible. Otherwise it will be too late for the EU to help protect local communities and preserve our economies", said the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Apostolos Tzitzikostas, commenting on the inter-institutional negotiations on the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and Recovery Plan.
The Chair of the CoR Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER),
Isabelle Boudineau (FR/PES), commented: "This agreement is historic. For the first time, the European Parliament managed to increase the Multiannual Financial Framework by € 16 billion, securing researchers and participants in the Erasmus+ programme can benefit from it and tripling the EU4Health Programme funds so essential in these times of crisis. However, some uncertainties remain. The ad hoc solution to use EU competition fines should not be only a temporary option, but EU rules should be adjusted to keep this possibility in the long term. The same counts for the agreed timeline on new own resources for the EU budget. We must be sure that the ambitious calendar will be followed by acts. Serious economic times need serious solutions – we need to ensure a sustainable long-term recovery for the EU".
The CoR Rapporteur on the Multiannual Financial Framework, Nikola Dobroslavić (HR/EPP), said: "We welcome the deal reached by the Council and the Parliament on the new MFF and the recovery package. The swift adoption of these instruments prior to the beginning of the new financial period 2021-2027 is of the utmost importance for cities and regions to be able to implement concrete projects. Europe cannot recover without the active role of cities and regions. Cohesion policy and the Common Agricultural Policy remain essential policies for regions and cities and their recovery. This is why we need to establish cohesion as a fundamental value and key objective for all policies and investments".
The key demands of the European Committee of the Regions to address the pandemic include:
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.