As a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Union secured an unprecedented amount of investment for a fair, green and digital recovery. React EU, the Just Transition Fund, the European Fund for Regional Development, the Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European agricultural fund for rural development as well as the Recovery and Resilience Facility form a unique toolbox that can deliver an inclusive recovery as well as fair green and digital transitions.
Absorbing and implementing all available EU funds is a demanding challenge for national, regional and local governments. As highlighted by the plenary debate, centralisation and top down solutions risk undermine the investment impact in several member states. For this reason, CoR members and Commissioner Ferreira called for the full involvement of regional and local governments in the design of comprehensive recovery plans, in line with the partnership principle, in order to make the best possible use of the synergies between all the available instruments.
We are facing unprecedented implementation challenges and we can succeed only by working together. The emergency is often pushing to a centralised governance of cohesion policy and programs are not well coordinated with national recovery plans. This is why we will work with Commissioner Ferreira to accelerate the launch of new programs, support their implementation and communicate the added-value and benefits of cohesion policy to people's daily life ", said
Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions.
In the next few years, many regions will see their European funding double or even triple. There are more instruments, more opportunities and more investment than ever before. It is key that they are put at the service of comprehensive and forward-looking national strategies, underpinning our common EU priorities. Regional and local authorities as well as social partners and civil society’s engagement in the preparation of these strategies and plans is crucial to ensure complementarity, consistency and territorial impact
Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms.
There is a unique opportunity for the EU to contribute to achieving the goals of the Green Deal. The greening of cohesion in the new programming period is a priority", said
Vasco Cordeiro, First Vice-president of the European Committee of the Regions and regional councillor of the Azores regional Assembly. He added that:
"Proper funding is not enough. Simplification and more room to invest are also needed ."
Regional and local leaders also stressed the need to reinforce administrative capacities on the ground, promote cohesion values in all EU investment and make more visible the key role of cohesion policy for a fair, green and digital recovery.
All European regions are preparing with a sense of urgency the programmes to be implemented on the ground after the adoption of the cohesion policy regulations in November. We are already late but local and regional representatives are committed to making this new programming period a success. To ensure it, Member States must ensure that the recovery and resilience facility complements our efforts. It is not by snubbing the territories that we will ensure consistency and efficiency ", said
Isabelle Boudineau, chair of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions.
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