Deliver upwards social convergence in a cohesive Europe, urge PES ministers

PES Cohesion Ministers

The participants at today’s PES Cohesion Ministerial meeting In Luxembourg: (from left to right): Aleksander Jevšek, Minister of Cohesion and Regional Development, Slovenia; Teodora Preoteasa, Secretary of State for the Ministry European Investments and Projects, Romania; Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms; Elio di Rupo, Minister-President of Wallonia, Chair of the meeting, Belgium

One of the EU’s guiding strategic principles must be more cohesive societies in a more cohesive Europe – this was the conclusion as ministers from the socialist family responsible for cohesion policy met in Luxembourg today with European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira and Minister-President Elio Di Rupo, who chairs the GAC Cohesion Council. Cohesion Policy is the glue that holds Europe together.

Convening ahead of the GAC Cohesion Council, ministers discussed the link between Cohesion Policy and the EU’s Strategic Agenda for 2024 – 2029.

Meeting chair, Minister-President Elio di Rupo, said:

“The challenge of the years to come is to ensure all Europe’s regions and local stakeholders participate in, and fully benefit from, our union. Cohesion Policy is the way to achieve this strategic objective.

“Commissioner Ferreira’s report earlier this year showed the progress on cohesion that has been made since the 2004 enlargement – economic, employment and social indicators in the 2014-2020 period all improved.

“We must build on this to deliver results on the twin transition, managing demographic changes and reducing the urban-rural divide. We must ensure shared management, multi-level governance, a place-based approach and the partnership principle define a strong EU Cohesion Policy going forward.”

The meeting welcomed the results of the PES family at the European elections. In the run-up to election day, PES common Candidate Nicolas Schmit and commisioner Elisa Ferreira published an OpEd on the future of cohesion policy in the EU.

The PES family is pushing for an ambitious Cohesion Policy that promotes upwards social convergence across Europe and fosters the involvement of local and regional stakeholders as well as civil society. The next mandate’s Cohesion Policy – simplified, with clear conditionality and a clearly visible impact for citizens – is one tool that the EU must utilise to counter nationalism and Euroscepticism.