The First Vice-President Karl-Heinz Lambertz as Head of the CoR delegation was accompanied by the Secretary General at the Informal Meeting of Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy in Malta on 9 June 2017. The meeting was chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue Dr. Aaron Farrugia and saw the participation of Commissioner Creţu and Members of the European Parliament.
Main points of discussion were on Cohesion Policy post-2020. There was a common understanding among the participants on the fact that Cohesion Policy should remain the key instrument for EU investment, acting as a link to innovation and smart specialization and contributing to new challenges such as climate change and Brexit. Ministers stressed the importance of differentiation and simplification, thematic concentration, flexibility, sound balance between ESIF and EFSI, as well as the necessity to make a clear link with the European Semester. Despite the overall consensus, there was a difference in the intensity in which such actions should be implemented.
As it was already the case at the Meeting with Directors General in April 2017, making cohesion policy more visible and showing its clear added value to citizens was also one important topic of this meeting. In this context Commissioner Creţu presented an Action Plan with 7 points on how to communicate better on the results of Cohesion Policy. The Action Plan stressed the importance of the role of the CoR to contribute to this exercise, notably with its "Reflecting on Europe" initiative. Moreover, the Action Plan emphasized that the points for actions should also be implemented by Member States together with local and regional authorities and the civil society, as everyone has a role to play.