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Future of Cohesion: maintain long-term focus while assisting in emergencies

12 октомври 2023 14:06, Людмила Калъпчиева
Излъчване: Туида Нюз преди 9 месеца, брой четения: 393
European Parliament

Regional development MEPs and local and regional leaders from the Committee of the Regions discussed the parameters of the new EU cohesion policy beyond 2027.

 

“Future of the Cohesion Policy beyond 2027” was the topic of the annual joint meeting of the Committee on Regional Development (REGI) of the European Parliament and the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions.

 

Participants agreed that the priority will be to ensure that the policy continues to deliver on its main goal of social, economic and territorial development in the EU while contributing to a fair and inclusive digital and green transition. Although long-term prosperity of EU regions must remain the main focus, cohesion policy must also be able to react with flexibility to emerging challenges and ongoing crises given their impact on the development of EU´s regions.

 

Investment in innovation and digitalisation could help bridge and eliminate existing regional disparities and support overall sustainable growth. At the same time, EU regions will need to prepare for future challenges such as impact of demographic and climate change, especially in less developed regions. Cohesion policy will need to react flexibly to uneven developments and be tailored to suit individual needs of EU regions. While involving regional authorities and introducing multilevel governance will be key for the new cohesion policy, it will also play a central role in engaging other local and regional stakeholders thus increasing their ownership of EU policies and helping to fight extremist tendencies.

 

Place development strategies and support for cross-border cooperation represent important tools to be further enhanced in the new cohesion policy. Participants also believe that it will be important to build synergies, simplify the regulatory framework and reduce administrative burden so that the cohesion policy can help EU regions to absorb more financial resources with more effectiveness.

 

The European Commission established a high level reflection group to come up with strategic recommendations about the future of the cohesion policy based on the conclusions of the 8th Cohesion Report by early 2024.

 

Quotes

 

Chair of the Committee on Regional Development (REGI) Younous Omarjee said: “The future of cohesion policy depends first and foremost on the success of 2021-2027 programming. That’s the priority. The next major battle to be fought will be the budget, to ensure that cohesion policy is sufficiently equipped to deploy in all European regions and achieve its objectives. We will also need to assess cohesion policy by taking stock of the latest programming, which is what Parliament will do in the coming months. We are fully mobilised with the Committee of the Regions to defend this major policy.”

 

„Since its creation, Cohesion Policy has had a key impact in reducing regional disparities and accelerating convergence in Europe. It has also played a central role in mitigating the negative impact of the various crises of the past few years and is now helping every European region prepare for the economy of the future. Looking ahead, it is crucial that Cohesion Policy keeps its place-based approach and is complemented by all the other policies at all levels under the principle of ‘do no harm to cohesion’,” said Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira.

 

Chair of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions and Mayor of Cluj-Napoca (RO) Emil Boc stated: “The CoR opinion, to be adopted in November 2023, highlights the importance of territorial cooperation and innovation driven territorial transformation. This will send a clear message that the importance of Cohesion Policy funding goes well beyond its financial support. It is about EU fundamental values and a sense of common and shared objectives among Europeans and the places they live in."

 

Background

 

The annual REGI-COTER meeting took place in the context of the 21st European Week of Regions and Cities (9-12 October 2023). This 4-day event enables cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.