EPP-CoR members welcomed the recovery instrument proposed by the European Commission during the first online meeting of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and the EU Budget (COTER). Debates focused on COVID19 and the new Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).
The meeting took place the day after the European Commission proposed to create a new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, of €750 billion as well as targeted reinforcements to the long-term EU budget for 2021-2027 that will bring the total financial firepower of the EU budget to €1.85 trillion.
Ivan Žagar, Mayor of the Municipality of Slovenska Bistrica and Vice Chair of the COTER Commission said that territorial disparities and social inequalities must be addressed. “We need to make sure no citizen and no region is left behind. In this regard it is key to reach an agreement on the MFF as soon as possible.”
Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca welcomed the Commission proposal describing it as a great achievement. He said “we need to use money in the most efficient way, in investments and in creating jobs. This is crucial to make our dream that no one is forced to leave his region becomes a reality.” The EPP-CoR COTER Coordinator added that the EU needs to be ready for future challenges such as a second Covid-19 wave. In this regard he suggested to keep flexibility for EU funds and to push for more multi-level governance.
Speaking at the Commission meeting was also Marc Lemaître, Director General for Region and Urban Policy who said “We need to reconquer trust in Europe! Yesterday’s new MFF proposal is a very good step in this direction.” He added that now more than ever the needs and challenges are different and we must capture the severeity of the economic and social crisis that our regions are facing. That is why we will keep full flexibility for cohesion funds in order to be quickly implemented in the cities and regions where is required.
Nikola Dobroslavić, President of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County said that the proposal of the new MFF and the Recovery Plan for the EU demonstrates solidarity and strengthens the Union for the future. The CoR Rapporteur on the MFF added “The proposal will be of great benefit to the EU’s economy, to the member states, regions and cities. For Local and Regional Authorities (LRAs), it is important that the Cohesion Policy, rural development and own resources are enhanced in the proposal.”
Michael Schneider, State Secretary, Representative of the Land of Saxony-Anhalt to the Federal Government said that Cohesion Policy needs adequate funding and EU cofinancing rates should be increased to enable regions to invest in a sustainable recovery that creates jobs and growth.
“The healthcare sector requires an absolute support with the possibility of establishing in selected hospitals Infectious Diseases Wards, dedicated to fight against not only COVID-19 but also the variety of other epidemics that are possible to outbreak. Cities and regions rely on the financing of the new MFF and I hope that the Recovery Plan announced by European Commission will be implemented in accordance with the multi-level government principle”underlined Adam Struzik, President of Mazovia Region.