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2011/0276(COD) - 30/09/2013 Debate in Council

The presidency informed the Council about the state of play in the ongoing trilogue discussions with the European Parliament and the Commission on the EU's cohesion policy package for 2014-2020 on the basis of an issue paper (see Council doc. 13796/13).

The Council exchanged views and provided guidance to the presidency for finalising the negotiations with the European Parliament.

All Member States considered that a timely agreement was urgently needed in order to allow the new cohesion policy programmes to be implemented as from 1 January 2014. Member States reminded the significant concessions which the Council had already made to the European Parliament. They reiterated their willingness to continue working in a constructive spirit on this file.

With regard to the outstanding political issues, the discussion went along the following lines:

- Several Member States opposed any dilution of the macro-economic conditionality. They stressed its importance for making sure that the five European structural and investment funds (the European regional development fund (ERDF), the European social fund (ESF), the cohesion fund (CF), the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD) and the European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF)) were not undermined by unsound macro-economic policies.

- Many Member States objected to any change to the performance reserve and the pre-financing which could have an impact on the payments' profile, seen as a core element of the MFF agreement.

- Some Member States resisted to any modification to co-financing, reminding that national cofinancing was essential to guarantee the ownership of the different programmes on the ground.