– analyse how the gender dimension is taken into account in the Structural and Cohesion Funds, particularly in the preparation of operational programmes;
– stress that gender-responsive budgeting ensures the distribution of resources on the basis of equal opportunities for all;
– underline that the "promotion of equality between women and men as well as rights and equal opportunities for all throughout the implementation and monitoring of the relevant programmes" are part of the Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA), signed by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council;
– highlight that the current pandemic has hit women particularly hard;
– emphasise that a number of local and regional authorities assess their budget from a gender perspective;
– stress that structural and cohesion policy funds are the most important EU investment tool and should be beneficial equally for men and women;
– present examples from different cities/regions on how gender responsive budgeting is already included in the preparation of structural and cohesion policy instruments;
– call on the European Commission to present concrete data on the gender dimension of EU Structural and cohesion programmes;
– call on the European Commission to put forward a methodology that ensures the assessment of the gender impact for EU programmes implemented in shared management.
As requested by the CoR, the Commission is developing a methodology for tracking gender equality related EU expenditure, which is being tested, is sought to be deployed ahead of the 2023 deadline set in the Interinstitutional Agreement.
A requirement for tracking gender-related expenditure was adopted for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Cohesion Fund, Just Transition Fund and European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), which will allow for better monitoring of the investments related to gender equality for the 2021-2027 period. The goal is to improve management of public funds while promoting gender equality.
The Commission has launched a training programme to equip its staff with the necessary skills to help managing authorities in gender mainstreaming.
When preparing future proposals for EU spending programmes, the Commission will screen whether the potential impact on gender equality of future EU funding programmes and instruments is significant.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- stresses that as the COVID-19 pandemic hit sectors employing a high number of women particularly hard, it exacerbated gender inequalities;
- points out that gender equality benefits not only women but society as a whole, as it is a powerful driver for social and economic development, as also described in the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, which emphasises that gender equality helps to increase employment and productivity;
- recognises and appreciates the efforts made by the European institutions to promote gender mainstreaming, as well as the great importance attached to achieving the objectives of the European Pillar of Social Rights in the 2021-2027 cohesion policy legislative and programming framework, with particular regard to the enabling conditions and tracking system in spending programmes relating to specific objectives;
- regrets, furthermore, that the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 does not include specific measures for mainstreaming gender equality into all EU policy areas, and points to the need to increase the use of effective indicators to measure and assess the gender impact of implementing the strategies;
- urges the European Commission to propose methodology for assessing the gender impact of programmes funded by the European Union, making available gender-specific data and indicators, in line with what was agreed in the latest Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline; therefore calls on the Commission to put in place appropriate training measures to help managing authorities implement these new methodologies better;
- calls for tools such as gender impact assessment and gender budgeting to be incorporated more widely into European programmes, as they are currently still too rarely used.