The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) has expressed its concern that the European Commission’s proposal for the post-2020 EU budget fails to realise the long-term vision and ambition required to shape Europe’s future.
The CPMR welcomes the Commission’s proposals to introduce new own resources, which are in line with the CPMR’s own proposals, and notes that the budget is roughly at the same level as the current MFF, despite the financial gap that will be left by Brexit.
Instead of the EU budget reflecting a rise in the number of priorities that need to be tackled at European level, it is more of an internal redistribution of funding away from ‘traditional’ policies, such as Cohesion policy, to new ‘priorities’.
The CPMR is concerned by the absence of vision for Cohesion Policy in the proposals and the lack of mention of Cohesion policy being the investment policy for Europe.
It is deeply worried that the European Social Fund (ESF) will be a standalone fund in the budget and will lose its territorial dimension, meaning that Cohesion policy will be unable to reinforce social, economic and territorial cohesion.
In addition, the CPMR is alarmed that the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is being reduced by 15%. This drastic cut undermines the objectives of the European Commission for this fund, including delivering sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
It has also noted that the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which supports transport investment, would be reduced to represent less than 2.5% of the EU Budget, despite the need for infrastructure to improve the accessibility of peripheral and maritime regions. As Cohesion policy has been severely reduced in the Commission’s proposal, it cannot be assumed that it will fill the gap in the CEF’s budget.
CPMR Secretary General, Eleni Marianou, said: “We note that the European Commission has proposed an EU budget at the same level as the current MFF, despite the financial impact of Brexit. Introducing new own resources will also enable the EU to go beyond the ‘juste retour’ approach. However, the proposals are not ambitious enough to address both traditional and new EU priorities at an appropriate level.”
CPMR President Vasco Cordeiro, said: “The Commission’s EU budget proposals meet neither the expectations or the needs of the European Union. The proposed budget cuts key policies for our regions, including Cohesion Policy and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, are very worrying and will only drive the EU further away from its citizens.”
Read an informal CPMR briefing note on the EU Budget, outlining what it means for Cohesion policy in particular.
The CPMR is also preparing a more detailed analysis on the whole MFF proposal, to follow in the coming days.