MEPs voted on the EU 2021-2027 Funding Rules for European funds and rejected cuts to finances dedicated to regions.
New rules were adopted to support innovation, digitisation, energy transition, education and access to healthcare in all parts of Europe. These will allow simplified procedures to boost locally driven projects and encourage smaller businesses to apply for funding. Structural Policy as a main policy for investments in all EU regions should continue on the one hand, and on the other should include measures linking effectiveness of funds to sound economic governance (macro-economic conditionality) limited to the suspension of commitment appropriations and not to payments.
This report expresses EPP Group engagement to lay down how EU money will be spent and to whom it will go.
“Cohesion Policy leaves no village and citizen behind. There is no vaccine to bureaucracy but our proposals come closest to one," stated Andrey Novakov, EPP Group Rapporteur on the Common Provisions Regulation. The MEP furthermore stressed that Europe works for the citizen and that the report will contribute to more EU visibility in the regions of Member States. Europe needs to show solidarity and remain competitive.
The report proposes a budget of €378.1bn in 2018 prices (12.5% more than the Commission's proposal of €330.6bn) for the 2021-2027 period. The European Social Fund + receives a top-up of €17bn to a total of €105.7bn. The Cohesion Fund and cross-border investments are increased to €46.3bn and €11.3bn, respectively.
Less developed regions should keep benefitting from substantial EU support of up to 85% of co-financing, and additional funding should be set aside for outermost regions.
"Cohesion Policy will be a safe haven amidst global economic uncertainty and in the wake of Brexit," noted Novakov after MEPs voted on the Common Provisions Regulation for 2021-2027 funding.
The legislative report proposes an increase to the co-financing rates compared to the Commission's proposal: 85% for less developed regions; 65% for transition regions; and 50% for more developed regions. Cohesion Policy will focus more on demographic challenges, poverty, people with disabilities and deinstitutionalisation. Regional and local authorities, economic and social partners, NGOs, universities and research institutions will be fully-fledged, bottom-up and effectively involved in planning the programmes.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 28 Member States