Future cohesion policy: Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions put jointly forward key demands

Ahead of the European Council, the European Parliament’s S&D Group and the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions adopted today a 10-point Socialist agenda on the new legislative framework for cohesion policy 2014-2020.

The document, which is the result of an intensive cooperation over the last two years between the two Groups, ties in with the overall call for concrete EU action on growth, and formulates 10 key demands, including: the access of all European regions to structural funds and the establishment of a category for transition regions; the refusal of macro-economic conditionality; an adequate budget of at least the same level as the one provided for the current programming period, consistency between the structural, cohesion, rural and fisheries fund; more flexibility and simpler rules; and a stronger involvement of local and regional authorities through partnership contracts.
Commenting on the position paper, Hannes Swoboda, President of the S&D Group, said: “Our 10-point agenda contains a clear message for EU and national leaders: There cannot be a European growth agenda without a strong European cohesion policy, which represents the EU’s main public investment tool and a considerable levy for additional investments. Together, we will defend this core issue in the months to come.”
Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the PES Group in the CoR, emphasised that the more regional and local authorities come under pressure because of heavy domestic budget cuts, the more they turn to Europe to provide them with a sustainable growth perspective. “Time has come to respond to these expectations. Setting an EU growth agenda is far more than macroeconomics; it’s about financing public investments in cities and regions and giving people back hope”, he added.
The two presidents expect their 10-point agenda to be a reference point for the vote on the report on the general regulation governing the future structural funds (S&D co-rapporteur Constanze Krehl, Germany), scheduled for the upcoming REGI Committee meeting on 11 July, for which more than 2000 amendments have been tabled.