The CPMR is calling on the European Parliament and the Council to protect and strengthen the core principles of Cohesion policy following the proposal on 29 May by the European Commission.

The CPMR is concerned about the fragmentation of Cohesion policy, the elimination of maritime cross-border programmes, and the introduction of possibilities to transfer Cohesion policy funds to other EU instruments outside of Cohesion policy.

CPMR President, Vasco Cordeiro, said: “First, the Commission proposed on 2 May to cut Cohesion policy by 10% in real terms. Now the Cohesion policy proposal substantially reduces the contribution EU funding makes to co-financing. This means a double reduction of the policy’s funds and a double burden for Regions and Member States working to achieve social, economic and territorial cohesion”.

The CPMR is concerned in particular about the following:

  • that considerable structural and investment funds resources would be diverted to the new InvestEU instrument. This would mean that Cohesion policy funds are invested in an instrument that is not aimed at achieving social, economic and territorial cohesion.
  • that the ESF will be a standalone fund in the budget with its own objectives. This could lead to it losing its territorial dimension and be unable to reinforce social, economic and territorial cohesion.
  • that the strengthening of the link between Cohesion policy and the European Semester will divert the policy from its initial Treaty objectives. Together with the upcoming Reform Support programme, this will mean Cohesion policy funds are used to carry out structural reforms in areas with no regional relevance
  • by the removal of maritime cross border cooperation programmes. Maritime Member States and regions will be penalised due to their geographical specificities.

On a more positive note, the CPMR:

  • welcomes the Commission efforts to simplify the policy. Proposals to streamline the designation procedure of managing authorities is a step in the right direction, for instance.
  • supports the proposal for increased EU support for interregional cooperation for innovation at sub-national level.

CPMR Secretary General, Eleni Marianou, said: “Regional inequalities are rising across Europe. Cohesion policy remains the only European policy to address and bridge inequalities on the ground, and we are happy to see that the Commission proposal covers all European regions. Today’s proposal encourages the diversion of Cohesion policy funds to other instruments such as the InvestEU, which is a concern for peripheral maritime regions.”