The EPP Group wants to use the EU's cohesion funds to create jobs and promote growth across all EU regions. The European Parliament will debate and adopt new rules today for all EU cohesion funds. Regional and local projects financed by these funds will help reduce economic disparities and boost the recovery from the pandemic.
"Our priority after the pandemic is to create jobs, jobs, jobs in all regions of Europe. This week's vote in Parliament means that EU cities and regions will receive the first payments of the new cohesion policy in 2022. The battle with the consequences of COVID-19 is ongoing. Since spring 2020, cohesion policy has invested tens of billions in regional recovery. Every Euro makes a difference”, explained Andrey Novakov MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development who was Parliament's Chief Negotiator of the new common rules for the cohesion funds.
“We worked against the clock and as a result, the Member States are currently preparing their regional projects. I hope for a quick approval by the European Commission. This will enable the investment of €330bn in road, rail, urban, digital infrastructure, SMEs, energy transition, employment, education and training”, stressed Novakov.
One of the cohesion policy programmes is Interreg, which supports cross-border innovation projects.
“Interreg is an essential tool for cooperation amongst neighbours and for the removal of border obstacles. We cut red tape and managed to make the programme even more easy to use for people carrying out projects. In the new funding period, smaller projects in particular will be supported more strongly than ever before. Up to 20% of the total Interreg resources can be allocated to small project funds”, explained Pascal Arimont MEP, Parliament's Negotiator for the cross-border Interreg Programme.
"We are also addressing the challenges of our time: regions have to invest in projects tackling climate change and strengthening healthcare. The COVID-19 crisis has shown that our cooperation on health needs to be expanded, and this is what we will be able to do with the Interreg Programme in the coming years", added Arimont.
The new rules apply to the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the Cohesion Fund, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund, the Border Management and Visa Instrument and others.
“We, the EPP Group, stand for a strong cohesion policy that promotes growth and economic development in all the EU regions. At the same time, we have managed to set out simplified rules for the respective funds as well as clear objectives reflecting our ambitious goals in the field of climate change, digital connectivity, cooperation in the health sector and support for small businesses. The new cohesion policy will be decisive to make our Union more cohesive and to make it fit for the post-COVID era”, concluded Arimont.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 178 Members from all EU Member States