Procedure : 2014/2946(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0281/2014

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 27/11/2014 - 10.5
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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0278/2014

further to Question for Oral Answer B8‑0042/2014

pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

on delays in the start-up of cohesion policy for 2014-2020 (2014/2946(RSP))

Iskra Mihaylova, Ivan Jakovčić, Gérard Deprez on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on delays in the start-up of cohesion policy for 2014-2020 (2014/2946(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Articles 174 to 178 thereof,

–       having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006,

–       having regard to Council Regulation (EU, EURATOM) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the years 2014-2020,

–       having regard to Regulation (EU, EURATOM) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002,

–       having regard to the question to the Commission on delays in the start-up of cohesion policy for 2014-2020 (O-000082/2014 – B8‑0042/2014),

–       having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the late adoption of the MFF in November 2013 delayed the adoption of the cohesion legislative package;

B.     whereas cohesion policy represents around one third of the EU budget over the period 2014-2020 with a total amount of EUR 351 billion (current prices);

C.     whereas the Common Provision Regulation (No 1083/2006) provides more synergies between the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) allowing multi-fund investments;

D.     whereas the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) have a more results- oriented approach than in the period 2007-2013, as well as a better integration within the European Semester and national policies;

E.     whereas ESIF represents the main EU public investment with a direct contribution to growth and job creation, and is the only public investment in many Member States;

F.     whereas the Union-Wide Investment Plan of EUR 300 billion is a major political priority of Commission President-elect Juncker;

G.     whereas cohesion policy mobilises financing for eleven priorities such as RTDI(1), ICT, SMEs, low carbon economy, climate, environment and resource efficiency, transport, employment, social inclusion, education and public administration, while a budgetary concentration is on RTDI, SMEs, ICT and low-carbon economy;

H.     whereas the Partnership Agreements (PAs) and Operational Programmes (OPs), negotiated between the Commission (DG REGIO) and the Member States, represent the national strategies which set up the objectives and priorities to be financed within cohesion policy through grants, financial instruments and technical assistants; moreover, they should be correlated with EU 2020 strategies and its flagship initiatives;

I.      whereas contrary to the past, the new 2014-2020 programming period is characterised by a stronger focus on the quality of the Partnership Agreements and the Operational Programmes;

J.      whereas the PAs and the OPs should have been developed according to Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013, in a partnership with relevant regional and local public and private stakeholders;

K.     whereas the adoption of Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes is a condition for the kick-off of the new cohesion policy period;

L.     whereas currently all Partnership Agreements have been approved by the Commission and only around 10 % of all Operational Programmes have been adopted, while the Commission intends to increase their approval or ready for adoption up to 50 % by the end of the year;

M.    whereas following the request of the Member States, the Commission has prepared a non-paper on the treatment of 2014 commitments of programmes co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund which are not adopted by the Commission by 31 December 2014;

N.     whereas, besides the OPs which could be adopted by the end of 2014, there are two other scenarios envisaged as regards the start-up of the implementation: the carry-over procedure for those considered ‘ready for adoption’ by 31 December 2014 and the rebudgeting of the unused 2014 allocation for the ESIF, implying a technical revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), for the programmes considered ‘not ready for adoption’ by the end of 2014;

O.     whereas according to the timeline presented by the Commission, under the carry-over procedure, OPs could be adopted between 15 February and 31 March 2015 and under the rebudgeting procedure after 1st May 2015;

P.     whereas on 31 December 2013 the outstanding commitments (RALs) amounted to EUR 220 billion, of which EUR 136 billion (60 %) for the cohesion policy;

Q.     whereas besides the delay in the implementation for 2014-2020, cohesion policy is also confronted with a growing and unsustainable backlog of payments claims for the 2007-2013 programming period (EUR 5 billion in 2011, EUR 11 billion in 2012, EUR 13 billion in 2013 and EUR 23 billion in 2014), both undermining its credibility;

R.     whereas the 2014 budget shows an unexpected surplus of revenue of EUR 5 billion, which fully compensates the additional payment needs of Draft Amending Budget No 3/2014;

1.      Is highly concerned regarding the significant delay in the implementation of cohesion policy for the period 2014-2020, while recognising the importance and the need of adopting high-quality Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes in order to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the whole policy; is very worried, furthermore, that any delay in implementing the 2014-2020 cohesion policy would hamper the start and the success of the Union-Wide Investment Plan;

2.      Urges the Commission and the Member States to strengthen their efforts to rapidly increase the quality of Operational Programmes when necessary in order to ensure that as many programmes as possible are ‘ready for adoption’ by 31st December 2014, in order to benefit from the carry-over procedure, in accordance with Article 13(2)(a) of the Financial Regulation and Article 4 of its Rules of Application;

3.      Asks the Commission, while keeping a high focus on quality, to analyse all possibilities in order to ensure that Operational Programmes resubmitted after the deadline of 24 November 2014 are also taken into consideration in order to conclude the inter-service consultation by the end of the year and be treated as ready for adoption if they fulfil the quality requirements;

4.      Asks the Member States to ensure a high quality driven process in developing and upgrading the Operational Programmes;

5.      Is aware that the rebudgeting of the uncommitted amounts of 2014 in 2015, according to Article 19 of the MFF, implies a revision of the MFF by 1st May 2015, which, even if technical, has to comply with the multiannual budget procedure: a proposal for a revision of the MFF by the Commission, consent by Parliament and adoption by unanimity by the Council; stresses, moreover, that in order to have the Operational Programmes adopted, a corresponding draft amending budget covering the respective commitments appropriations for 2015 also needs to be approved, which implies, in the best-case scenario, a delay in the effective start-up of those programmes’ implementation until mid-2015;

6.      In view of the above, asks the Commission to present to Parliament the measures it envisages undertaking in order to facilitate as soon as possible the implementation of the Operational Programmes, as well as the foreseen timeline;

7.      Is deeply concerned about the status of the payments backlog under the cohesion policy for the 2007-2013 Operational Programmes, as well as about the current blockage in the adoption of Draft Amending Budget No 3/2014 on the outstanding payments and BUDG 2015, which makes the situation of the unpaid bills even more critical; stresses the importance and the urgency of reaching an agreement in this respect, on the basis of the existing Commission proposals, by the end of 2014;

8.      Urges the Council, in line with the principles of good budgeting and sound financial management, to agree to put any unexpected stream of revenue towards paying outstanding payment claims;

9.      Calls on the Commission to explain the impact of this delay in payments on the start-up of the new Operational Programmes’ implementation and to put forward solutions to limit damage as much as possible;

10.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee and the other relevant institutions.


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