Use cohesion policy to promote solidarity, PES Ministers urge

Use cohesion policy to promote solidarity, PES Ministers urge

Government ministers in charge of cohesion policy from the PES member parties met ahead of the General Affairs Council (Cohesion), which is set to hold a policy debate on the legislative package post-2020.

Discussion at the PES meeting reflected the work set out in a joint declaration published by the group earlier this year – EU solidarity post 2020: an ambitious Cohesion policy.

The meeting chair, Minister Pedro Marques from Portugal, said:

“Cohesion policy is tool to build solidarity between Member States and European regions – the founding principle of European integration. Cohesion policy investment has produced real benefits for people. No other instrument has a clearer link with citizens and local economy. People are connected to water, broadband and transport infrastructures thanks to cohesion policy. They receive better education at schools, better healthcare at the hospitals, and receive better training because of cohesion policy. They work, start their own company and innovate thanks to cohesion policy. The benefits are huge.

“One important element is the partnership principle, which allows recipients – regions, citizens, cities – to shape investment so it meets their local needs. The Austrian Presidency has proposed lifting some of the obligations linked to the partnership principle, to make the implementation of funding more flexible. We back simplification and the easier mobilisation of the funds, but the Council must make sure this change does not undermine recipients’ ability to shape investment.” 

He added:

“Cohesion policy funding must also not be endangered under the new MFF to finance other projects. Cohesion policy is vital to European solidarity and its funding must, at least, be maintained at the current level.”

The meeting was attended by:

  • Pedro Marques, Minister of Planning and Infrastructure, Portugal, Chair of the meeting
  • Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, European Commission
  • Aaron Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue, Malta
  • Rovana Plumb, Minister for European Funds, Romania
  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the Committee of the Regions
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES