Members of the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) discussed with the Commissioner responsible for Cohesion and Reform, Elisa Ferreira, the new programming period 2021-27 and the territorial aspects of the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (RRF). They asked the Commission to ensure full respect for the principle of partnership and multilevel governance and to make recommendations to Member States to improve the processes of partnerships with local authorities. They also urged Member States to ensure broader territorial implementation of the RRF and the European Commission to ensure that National Recovery Plans are drawn up that can effectively prioritize less developed and transitional regions, as well as regions most impacted by socio-economic repercussions. of the COVID-19 crisis.
Adopt partnership agreements
With a volume of EUR 392 billion for the period 2021-2027, cohesion policy remains the EU’s main investment policy to reduce disparities between EU regions, strengthening the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU. HUH. Aiming to concentrate at least 30% of EU funds on the fight against climate change, the new generation of cohesion funds has also become one of the main investment instruments of the Green Agreement. Its implementation “is now more than ever expected on the ground to drive recovery and prepare all EU regions for the new challenges and transitions that lie ahead”.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regulation governing the 2021-27 funds entered into force on July 1, 2021 and only the Greek Partnership Agreement has been adopted by the Commission so far.
During a joint meeting, members of the European Parliament Regional Development Commission (REGI) and the Commission on Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) discussed the challenges of the new programming period. They underlined the importance of the principles of partnership and governance at sub-national levels and, at the same time, recalled the importance of maintaining the flexibility measures introduced last year to mobilize EU structural funds in the fight against COVID-19.
They also called on the European and national authorities to speed up the preparation of new investment programs and to strengthen the synergies between the National Recovery and Resilience Plans and the Cohesion Policy, bearing in mind the need to avoid overlaps and ensure that the objectives of the national recovery plans respect the principles of cohesion.
Elisa Ferreira: cohesion more important than ever
REGI and COTER members shared their concerns and priorities with Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform Elisa Ferreira, for whom “cohesion policy is more important than ever: investing in the recovery of all regions, in a green transition for all regions, in a digital transition that leaves no one behind and avoids a new digital divide is our mission for the next ten years”.
The Portuguese European Commissioner is convinced that Europeans will “know how to responsibly use this unique opportunity in a generation of exceptional levels of cohesion funding and favorable public perception, to create something that future generations will be proud of.”
Younus Omarjee, chairman of the European Parliament’s REGI committee, stressed that “the impact of the crisis is extremely high and EU funds on the ground are now expected to drive a rapid recovery. cohesion continues to be the reduction of social, economic and territorial disparities between EU regions. This is a central pillar of the European Union. The principles of cohesion policy that governed our negotiations must now be respected in the implementation of funds and programmes, as well as in the recovery of the flat Member States. “
In the implementation, do not repeat errors
Isabelle Boudineau, chairman of the CR COTER commission and member of the Regional Council of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, said that “European regions and cities need the European Union as much as the EU needs regions and cities to succeed in recovery and ecological transition The EU and its Member States must rely on regional and local authorities. We know our territories and their needs. We are therefore in a better position to implement European priorities in different territorial contexts. Renationalization in the preparation of the Plan Relaunch was a mistake. We will not repeat the mistake by excluding regions and cities from its implementation.”