European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu has joined calls to protect cohesion policy funding in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF).
Creţu’s words follow a resolution which was adopted by the European Parliament last week, which seeks to protect cohesion policy funding in upcoming MFF negotiations, and which outlines the added value that stronger economic, social and territorial cohesion have for Europe.
Previously, European Commissioner for Budget, Günther Oettinger, had suggested that cuts of between 5-10% might be made to cohesion policy funding as part of the next MFF, thanks in part to the projected loss of UK contributions following Brexit. He suggested that this would not have a significant impact, given that the policy commands 32.5% of the EU budget, equivalent to €351.8bn.
What did the European Parliament resolution say?
The European Parliament resolution argues that cohesion policy funding needs to support all European regions, and that the proposed cuts could force cohesion policy to concentrate exclusively on the least developed regions, which could ‘hinder progress on the political priorities of the union as a whole’.
The resolution emphasises that the implementation of cohesion policy in any region generate spill-over benefits across the entire EU, by strengthening the single market and increasing trade, but warns that these benefits vary by member state, and that a focus only on the least developed regions could not guarantee this progress.
What did Commissioner Creţu say?
Speaking at a conference between the European Parliament and the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, Creţu encourage participants to take an active role in protecting cohesion policy funding.
She said: “Because I truly believe cohesion policy is the backbone of Europe, the cement that keeps us all together, I am fighting for it to have the financial means it deserves in the future period. But I cannot succeed on my own.”
Creţu insisted that stakeholders who believe in the strength of European cohesion policy should contact local and national authorities, to ensure that it continues to be viewed as a priority. She concluded: “I count on your support to talk to your national governments, to explain that cohesion policy already addresses most of the new priorities and that it is a win-win… Together, we can make it.”