The sessions on budget and cohesion policy held during the CPMR General Assembly in Palermo were extremely timely relevant as discussions on the MFF 2021-2027 were happening in the European Council on the same day and negotiations on the cohesion policy package 2021-2027 had reached a crucial moment in the last weeks with the restart of the interinstitutional negotiations. 

The high level speakers taking part in both sessions allowed CPMR members to get an insight view of the negotiations as well as to have first-hand statements by Members of the Eurpoean Parliament among others.

The session on the EU budget gathered a representative of the Government of Croatia – incoming Presidency of the Council of the EU as of 1st January 2020 – and both MFF co-rapporteurs in the European Parliament.

Ms Margarida Marques and Mr Jan Olbrycht, MFF co-rapporteurs at the European Parliament reiterated that the European Parliament will say no to the Council agreement on the MFF, if there are cuts on cohesion policy budget. The idea was reitered by Younous Omarjee, Chair of the Regional Committee at the European Parliament on the cohesion session.

Ms Marques asked the Council to rethink their overall budget size proposal as the EU needs a strong budget to respond to EU challenges and Mr Olbrycht demand that in case there is no agreement on the MFF by 2020, the European Commission should start preparing a Plan B to secure beneficiaries.

The cohesion policy session focused on the ongoing negotiations on the cohesion policy package. Mr Younous Omarjee gave an overview of the negotiations while explaining the European Parliament position and “redlines”. For example, on the Partnership Agreement and Macroeconomic conditionality.

Mr Marc Lemaître, Director General for DG REGIO at the European Commission gave the Commission’s perspective on the negotiations. In relation to key elements for the CPMR, Mr Lemaître defended the the need for a Partnership agreement for each Member State as it enables to have a strategic approach and complementarity of funds, and gave first details on the new Commisison initaitve of the Just Transition Fund mentioning that it should be complementary, not centrally managed and aligned with cohesion policy roots.