The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) welcomes the provisional agreement on the rules for the European fund for regional development and for the Cohesion fund, that will invest more than 240 billion euro to reduce disparities and boost sustainable growth in every region of the Union. Key long-standing requests by local and regional authorities have been taken on board including a stronger territorial dimension, emphasis on sustainable development and the special situation of outermost regions.
On 8 December, the negotiating teams of the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the new rules of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF). These funds together represent the most powerful investment tools in the EU budget, providing 242.9 billion euro for EU regional funding over the next seven years. Funds will be available from 1 January 2021 pending the final agreement on the EU's overall Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which is still under negotiation. In case Member States do not reach a final agreement by the end of the year, investment programmes backed by the ERDF, the CF and the other cohesion policy tools would be kept on hold, delaying massive investment for citizens and businesses.
"The agreement on the European Development Fund and Cohesion Fund is a decisive step for cities and regions. The Covid-19 pandemic particularly hit the most vulnerable in our societies. Projects on social housing, fighting inequalities or sustainable infrastructure to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 will now receive EU support from 1 January 2021. Equality, social justice and sustainability – these should be the guiding principles for the EU's transition. These funds are the necessary tools for our regions to achieve these goals
", said Isabelle Boudineau
(FR/PES), Chair of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions and Vice-President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region.
The CoR welcomes the compromises on key demands advocated by cities and regions helping to establish cohesion as a fundamental value. These include a stronger territorial dimension, increasing the investments in sustainable urban development, facing the impact of the demographic decline in sparsely-populated areas and considering the particular challenges faced by the outermost regions. The new ERDF and CF will increase the funds allocated to smart growth, will ensure at least the 30% of the resources to be invested in green economy, considering the importance to fulfil the obligations stemming from the Paris Agreement, as well as will promote a more social and inclusive Europe.
"The CoR is delighted with the excellent agreement reached, where legislators have taken almost all of our recommendations on board. Europe's largest public fund allows all regions to invest in new skills, jobs and the transition towards the zero-carbon economy, making this Europe's greenest fund and at the same time a true expression of solidarity with all types of regions
", said Michiel Rijsberman
(NL/Renew Europe), CoR rapporteur on the European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund
and Regional Minister of the Province of Flevoland.
The Regulation still requires some technical work, which will be finalised in January before it can be formally adopted by the Council and the European Parliament plenary.Background:
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. It focuses its investments on four priority areas: Innovation and research, the digital agenda, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the low-carbon economy. The Cohesion Fund (CF) is reserved for countries whose per capita Gross Domestic Product is below 90% of the EU average. The Regulation on the ERDF and CF (previously covered by two separate regulations) identifies the specific objectives and scope of support for both funds.
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