President of the CPMR and the Regional Government of Azores, Vasco Cordeiro, participated in a structured dialogue organised by the Committee of the Regions with European Commission’s first Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, on 31 January in Brussels. 

President Cordeiro shared CPMR messages with Vice-President Timmermans regarding the future of the EU budget ahead of the publication of Commission’s legislative proposal on the EU budget, due for 2nd May 2018.

He informed the Vice-President that the CPMR will adopt a policy position on the future of the EU budget at the forthcoming CPMR Political Bureau in March 2018.

President Cordeiro emphasised that the impact of Brexit and the inclusion of new priorities to be financed by the Multi-Financial Framework (MFF) after 2020 will require an ambitious budget, reflecting the political vision for the future of Europe. He recalled the importance of securing traditional policies, such as Cohesion Policy, in the future MFF.

He stressed that making cuts in Cohesion Policy was not the right political approach as it would be extremely damaging for Europe. The EU should instead continue to support economic, social territorial cohesion more than ever, given the rising level of disparities across Europe.

President Cordeiro said: “If the European Union is discharging itself from its responsibilities in terms of solidarity and balanced development across Europe, who will take this responsibility?”  

The preservation of the ‘raison d’être’ of Cohesion Policy was also another issue addressed by President Cordeiro, who shared the concerns of CPMR regions regarding the risk of the Policy serving other purposes than its core objectives – for instance if it were to become an instrument to support structural reforms within the European Semester process. 

In addition, he reacted to the newly created Commission Task Force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality, warning Vice-President Timmermans that CPMR Regions are strongly opposed to any kind of renationalisation of Cohesion Policy. 

Finally, President Cordeiro handed over the CPMR Open letter for a modernised Cohesion Policy to Vice-President Timmermans, containing five key CPMR messages regarding the future of Cohesion Policy.