The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) shares the objectives of improving stability and convergence in the Eurozone, making it resilient in managing shocks and increasing flexibility in fiscal rules. But the EMU package unveiled on 6 December by the European Commission has worrying implications for EU regional policy. In particular, changing the Common Provisions Regulations governing the current European Structural and Investment Funds could undermine cohesion policy.
"Cohesion policy is currently the main convergence and stabilisation instrument of the European Union. It creates decent jobs, invests in infrastructures and human capital, and reduces territorial disparities. Its budget should be reinforced after 2020 and not jeopardized within the EMU deepening" , stresses CoR PresidentKarl-Heinz Lambertz (PSE/BE).
" EU regions and cities support the European Commission's commitment to increase the Eurozone unity, efficiency and democratic accountability", says the Committee's rapporteur on the "Reflection paper on the deepening of the EMU by 2025" , Christophe Rouillon (PSE/FR) . "At the same time, we are deeply concerned by the risk of diverting funds from EU cohesion policy and its specific growth and inclusion objectives, to establish delivery tools, programmes and incentives to push structural reforms in member states" he argues.
Last week, during the CoR plenary session, local and regional leaders debated the deepening of the EMU with Pierre Moscovici , Commissioner for economic and financial affairs. CoR Members insisted on the need to avoid any centralisation of investment policies. Moreover, they want to make the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) more flexible to allow the relaunching of local and regional authorities' public and private investment, for instance by excluding the co-financing of EU structural and investment funds from the SGP calculations.
In order to defend and strengthen EU's cohesion policy after 2020, the Committee has promoted the #CohesionAlliance , a coalition of national, regional and local governments, SMEs, NGOs, schools, universities, trade unions, cultural organisations, who believe that cohesion policy must continue to be a pillar of the EU's future.
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