Reply to the referral of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council
Provide the views of the CoR on the findings of the 7th Cohesion report
Reinforce the CoR's position within the debate on the future cohesion policy post-2020 and promote the #CohesionAlliance
The opinion reinforced the CoR's position underlining the importance of a strong and effective Cohesion policy post-2020 and provided also useful input for the preparation of subsequent CoR opinions on the matter. It was also presented in the framework of a dedicated panel discussion on "Risk and price of “non-cohesion” of the EU regions” during the High Level Conference on "EU Cohesion Policy: post-2020 Perspectives for Convergence and Sustainable Regions", which was organised by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council on 7 and 8 June 2018 in Sofia.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes the publication of the 7th Cohesion Report as an important point of departure in the debate on the new Cohesion Policy beyond 2020;
- recalls the fundamental fact that strengthening the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the European Union is one of the EU's main objectives stipulated in Article 174 TFEU and underlines that Cohesion Policy is the main European investment policy aiming to achieve these Treaty objectives;
- highlights the fact that regions and cities are facing unprecedented challenges, which have a strong territorial impact with an uneven distribution of benefits and costs across the regional economies and communities of Europe. In view of the large number of challenges and their serious territorial dimension, a strong and effective Cohesion Policy for all EU regions is needed more than ever for a strong and effective European Union;
- recalls that Cohesion Policy is intended to ensure a level playing-field that enables the whole of the EU to exploit the full benefits of the Single Market and the opportunities stemming from global transformation;
- underlines that downgrading or fragmenting of Cohesion Policy, for example by restricting it to certain categories of regions or by detaching the European Social Fund, would bring major political risks, calling into question the capacity of the EU to fulfil the Treaty objectives of strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion due to a lack of critical mass of support in many regions, meaning also lower investments in key European objectives;
- highlights its concern that the non-cohesion in the European Union could lead to an increase in economic and social disparities between regions and greater tensions among Member States and to the disintegration of the Single Market and less effective EU economic governance;
calls upon the European Parliament and the Commission to develop a "Cost of non-Cohesion" methodology in order to provide additional quantifiable evidence on the European Added Value of Cohesion Policy.