Addressing EU regional development ministers in Malta, the First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, called on member states to strengthen their commitment for a strong cohesion policy in the next EU budget.
In his remarks, First Vice-President Karl-Heinz Lambertz referred to the recent appeal to launch Alliance for cohesion policy, " Europe must focus its efforts on delivering prosperity and on the issues that matter most to every citizen. It must visibly demonstrate that the EU does benefit all our communities, can respond the challenges of today and ready itself for the challenges of tomorrow. The EU's cohesion policy has proved its worth tackling issues such as migration, creating jobs and building sustainable resilient cities and regions. We call on all EU member states to join the growing number of supporters of the #CohesionAlliance who are determined to ensure its future as a cornerstone of the European Union."
During the meeting, the European Commission presented its roadmap Bringing opportunities to European: communicating together the results of EU cohesion policy . The approach was welcomed by the European Committee of the Regions as it also relies on its contribution to involve representatives of Europe's regions and cities, civil society, alongside the other EU institutions and member states, in a 'cohesion policy coalition', giving voice to all funds beneficiaries.
The Committee recently published its proposals for the future of the EU's cohesion policy and committed to providing a platform to share experiences, further proposals and concerns, and make sure the needs of all EU regions and cities will be given sufficient attention during the forthcoming negotiations on the EU budget after 2020.
Making explicit reference to the current debate on strengthening the legal requirements for access to cohesion policy funding (so called "conditionalities"), Vice-President Lambertz reiterated the Committee's support for ex ante conditionalities guaranteeing member states' legal compliance in fields such as environment and public procurement.
He stressed however that EU regions and cities reject the idea of jeopardising EU structural funds in a carrot and stick approach, downgrading the whole policy to a mere incentive tools for reforms or other objectives which are not directly related to the growth and convergence of European territories.
Note for editors
The European Committee of Regions delivered on 11 May its position on the cohesion policy after 2020. EU regions and cities showed how EU cohesion policy has worked in the past, alleviating the worst effects of the crisis (see infographic) and highlighted its role in tackling the challenges of today (migration, territorial resilience and smart cities/regions, in addition to infrastructure). The Committee considers that cohesion policy is needed in the future more than ever to safeguard our prosperity for the future of the 27, and, in the next EU budget, it should be provided with adequate funding, with the same percentage share allocated today (1/3 of total resources).
The Committee will contribute with its proposals to the forthcoming 7th Cohesion Forum, organised by the European Commission on 26 and 27 June.
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