The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) is disheartened by the public consultation launched today by the European Commission on “EU funds in the area of Cohesion”. 

The CPMR General Secretariat has prepared a ‘fact-checking’ briefing to set the record straight regarding the added value of Cohesion Policy.

© Lledó

The CPMR is deeply concerned that this consultation does not consult stakeholders on the future of Cohesion as a policy, but instead focuses on the so-called “EU funds in the area of Cohesion”, which also covers the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), the Fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme.

It is unnerving to note that this consultation will help prepare the legislative proposal for the future of Cohesion policy. This is one of many consultations launched today to feed in to the future of the EU budget for post-2020.

There are several disturbing elements in this consultation. First of all, there is a clear hint about the potential renationalisation (questions 33 and 34) of Cohesion policy, to which the CPMR strongly objects. Secondly, there is no reference at all to territorial cohesion or to a territorial dimension of Cohesion policy. Regions are only mentioned once and there are only two mentions of Cohesion policy. 

CPMR Secretary General, Eleni Marianou said: “This is not the public consultation on Cohesion policy we were expecting. The way this consultation has been framed means it will result in a biased vision of what Cohesion policy is and what it should address. We fear that this questionnaire is misleading and poses a threat to the continuation of Cohesion policy.” 

The consultation speaks of reducing regional disparities and underdevelopment exclusively “in certain EU regions”, without providing an explanation of why this will only occur in certain regions and what these regions are. It also mixes up treaty objectives, EU objectives and Cohesion policy thematic objectives, which fails to reflect the functions of Cohesion policy.

In addition, the consultation asks stakeholders to consider the success of programmes under shared management in addressing challenges, which are managed by Member States and/or regions. The CPMR reminds the Commission that Cohesion policy is the only EU policy focusing on results and accountability.

Lastly, the consultation states that the Structural Reform Support Programme contributes to achieving the objectives of Cohesion policy. There is no evidence of this contribution. The objective of this programme is to contribute to structural reforms, which is not an objective of Cohesion policy.