The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) is calling on the European Commission to present ambitious post-2020 EU budget proposals that recognise the crucial importance of cooperation across Europe’s borders, particularly across maritime borders.

In an open letter to the Commission, the CPMR stresses that European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is a key objective of Cohesion policy and embodies the added value of EU policies in Europe’s territories.

The CPMR’s position is shared by the General Affairs Council on Cohesion, which on 12 April acknowledged the European added value of European Territorial Cooperation and stressed that territorial cooperation, including across maritime borders and with third countries, should continue to be part of Cohesion policy post 2020.

The CPMR is urging the Commission to take the following messages into account in its upcoming EU budget proposals:

1) The Commission must not abandon maritime cross-border cooperation programmes. Maritime borders could cease being shared areas, and instead become barriers to cooperation. Maritime Member States and regions,including islands and outermost regions, must not be penalised due to their geographical handicaps, as this would further increase regional disparities across Europe.

2) European Territorial Cooperation Programmes require a strong and well-resourced budget for the post-2020 period. A Commission proposal with a reduced budget for the post-2020 period would threaten the very existence of European Territorial Cooperation.In view of the far-reaching questions people have about Europe, the need for cooperation across Europe has never been so important.

3) Regional authorities must remain at the core of cooperation programmes, macro-regional and sea basin strategies. If these programmes are to be successful, then regions must have greater involvement,accompanied by efforts to simplify European Territorial Cooperation for managing authorities, beneficiaries and EU citizens.