The debate about the importance of EU Cohesion Policy, the role of regions in the European Union after 2020, as well as spatial planning – these issues have opened the April deliberations of the Convention of Polish Marshals in Małopolska. Meeting in Kraków attracted not only representatives of the Polish regions but also experts, including Michael Schneider, President of the EPP in the European Committee of the Regions.
The cohesion policy has improved the quality of life – said Jacek Krupa, Marshal of Małopolska opening the proceedings:
Cohesion policy is so far the only instrument that effectively forces to work together various levels of public management. I have no doubt that over time, this policy has helped to raise living standards and increased economic opportunities in the regions of the EU. It helped improve skills and gave a chance for employment, gave the regions support in capacity building, created links between research institutes and business
Speaking at the Conference, Michael Schneider, rapporteur of the European Committee of the Regions on the topic underlined:
I am convinced that in the near future in the European Union will begin a stormy discussion on the role of cohesion policy after 2020 – because sadly- it isn’t lacking opponents of its present shape, arguing that these funds could be spent more efficiently or would prefer loans instead of grants for this types of investments.
However, Schneider looks a the future of Cohesion Policy with optimism.
We have more than enough of statistical data or evidence to prove its effectiveness – regions are clearly developing thanks to it. So, in my view in the coming years we should primarily focus on how to continue the Cohesion Policy. In my view, decisions on the allocation of funds should be less centralised, because in the end are the regions themselves know what they need – concluded Schneider.