MEPs reject making EU regional funding dependent on economic targets
- Maintaining overall investment budget for EU regions for 2021-2027
- Supporting innovation, digitalisation, SMEs and the transition towards a net zero carbon economy
- Enhancing synergies among funds
- Increased support for less developed regions
Parliament adopted simplified 2021-2027 common rules for investing in all EU regions and opposed suspension of EU regional funding dependent on national economic targets.
The new rules were adopted by the full House on Wednesday with 460 votes to 170 and 47 abstentions. These overarching rules governing 2021-2027 EU regional, cohesion and social spending are key to continuous investment in EU regions and communities, with increased support to less developed regions.
MEPs strongly believe that the current level of financing, equivalent to €378.1 billion (in 2018 prices), should be maintained during 2021-2027 period. Less developed regions will continue to benefit from substantial EU support, with co-financing rates of up to 85 % (compared to 70% proposed by the Commission) and a 61,6% share of the Regional Development, Social and Cohesion funds. The co-financing rate for transition and more developed regions has also been increased, to 65% and 50%, respectively. €1.6 billion (0.4%) should be set aside as additional funding for the outermost regions.
The common rules now have stronger links to overall EU policy objectives, such as:
- Increasing competitiveness and strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises;
- Prioritising efficiency measures in energy supply and demand;
- Protecting and improving the quality of the environment and combatting climate change;
- Promoting smart and sustainable mobility;
- Respecting fundamental rights, ensuring gender equality and preventing any type of discrimination.
Co-rapporteur Constanze Krehl (S&D, DE) said “Parliament fully supports the simplification principles as well as bringing on board all partners involved in EU cohesion funding through the partnership agreements. But coupling of EU regional funding with macroeconomic conditionalities, as the Commission proposed to do, would have meant unfairly punishing regional authorities for decisions taken by national governments. The Parliament therefore rejected these provisions.”
Co-rapporteur Andrey Novakov (EPP, BG) underlined that “everybody benefits from the EU’s cohesion policy, because it brings us together. There is only one category of Europeans: the net winners. We are very happy to have kept a tight legislative schedule, and are now prepared to immediately start negotiations with the Council”.
Parliament is ready to start negotiations with EU ministers.
The Common Provisions will apply to the Regional Development Fund, the Social Fund (EFS+), the Cohesion Fund, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and set out financial rules for the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument 2021–2027. The funds covered make up about a third of the EU´s total budget.