Motion for a resolution - B8-0282/2014Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the delays in the start-up of cohesion policy for 2014-2020

    24.11.2014 - (2014/2946(RSP))

    further to Question for Oral Answer B8‑0042/2014
    pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure

    Younous Omarjee, Martina Michels, Patrick Le Hyaric, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Kostas Chrysogonos, Ángela Vallina on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0278/2014

    Procedure : 2014/2946(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
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    Texts adopted :


    European Parliament resolution on the delays in the start-up of cohesion policy for 2014-2020


    The European Parliament,

    –       having regard to Article 4 TFEU,

    –       having regard to Articles 174, 175 and 176 TFEU,

    –       having regard to Article 162 TFEU,

    –       having regard to Article 39 TFEU,

    –       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 for the years 2014 -2020,

    –       having regard to the 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 the 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 cohesion policy and in particular the European Regional Development Fund are the EU’s key solidarity instruments, intended to help redress the main regional imbalances in the Union through participation in the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind and in the conversion of declining industrial regions;

    B.     whereas, in order to improve employment opportunities for workers in the internal market and thereby contribute to raising the standard of living, a European Social Fund has been established by the Treaties, aimed at making the employment of workers easier, increasing their geographical and occupational mobility within the Union and facilitating their adaptation to industrial changes and to changes in production systems, in particular through vocational training and retraining;

    C.     whereas the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is aimed at strengthening the EU’s rural development policy, improving the agricultural sector and the quality of life in rural areas, and encouraging diversification of the rural economy;

    D.     whereas cohesion policy plays a key role in fostering economic, social and territorial cohesion in all EU regions;

    E.     whereas cohesion policy also represents the main EU-wide investment and redistributive policy and is an essential fund for growth in Europe, with a budget of over EUR 350 bn up to 2020;

    F.     whereas in a time of austerity and budgetary constraints many European regions are depending and/or counting on the availability of EU cohesion funds and the EAFRD to co-finance a wide range of projects;

    G.     whereas less developed EU regions, young people, the elderly, the disabled and socially excluded people, as well as schools, associations, SMEs, small project leaders, people living in rural areas and farmers will be the first to feel the concrete impact of delays in the start-up of cohesion policy for 2014-2020;

    H.     whereas Articles 14, 16 and 29 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 provide a timeline for the submission and adoption of partnership agreements and operational programmes, according to which the partnership agreements are to be adopted by the end of August 2014 and the operational programmes by the end of January 2015 at the latest;

    I.      whereas we are facing a clear delay in the programming process, with only a very limited number of operational programmes (about 100) expected to be adopted by the end of 2014;

    J.      whereas, at the request of the Member States, the Commission has prepared a non-paper on the treatment of 2014 commitments under programmes co-financed by the ERDF, the ESF and the CF that are not adopted by the Commission by 31 December 2014;

    K.     whereas there are two scenarios envisaged for the adoption of operational programmes, both implying further delays as regards the start-up of the implementation: the carry-over procedure for those considered ‘ready for adoption’ by 31 December 2014 and the re-budgeting 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;

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

    M.    whereas, besides the delay in implementation for 2014-2020, cohesion policy is also faced with a EUR 23.4 bn backlog of payments at the end of 2013 for the 2007-2013 programming period, both undermining its credibility, efficiency and sustainability;

    1.      Expresses serious concern at the significant delay in the implementation of cohesion policy for 2014- 2020, while recognising the importance of adopting high-quality operational programmes at the start of the programming period;

    2.      Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the EU Regions to show responsibility and do their utmost to speed up the adoption of operational programmes in 2014, and to ensure that almost all programmes are ‘ready for adoption’ by 31 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.      Urges the Commission to streamline its internal procedures so as to ensure that almost all operational programmes re-submitted after the deadline of 17 November 2014 are taken into consideration with a view to concluding the inter-service consultation by the end of the year and being treated as ready for adoption if they fulfil the quality requirements;

    4.      Recalls that cohesion policy is one of best-known and most esteemed EU policies for EU citizens;

    5.      Shares the concerns of the Committee of the Regions regarding the EUR 300 bn investment package, which, according to the latest General Affairs Council meeting’s conclusions, could be connected to the cohesion policy’s envelope; considers that this offers serious uncertainty when regions and cities are at the same time mobilising all their energies to plan to deliver operational programmes for 2014-2020;

    6.      Considers that the re-budgeting of uncommitted 2014 amounts in 2015 is to be avoided as far as possible, given that, according to Article19 of the MFF, such re-budgeting implies a revision of the MFF by 1 May 2015 which, even if technical, must comply with the multiannual budget procedure, i.e. a proposal for a revision of the MFF by the Commission, consent by Parliament and unanimous adoption by the Council; expresses deep concern regarding the complexity of such re-budgeting and recalls the importance of avoiding any decrease in the cohesion policy budgetary engagements for 2014-2020;

    7.      Insists also on the fact that, for the operational programmes to be adopted, a corresponding draft amending budget covering the respective commitment appropriations for 2015 needs to be approved, and that this implies, in the best-case scenario, a delay in effectively starting the implementation of those programmes until mid-2015;

    8.      Calls on the Commission, in view of the above, to submit to Parliament the measures it plans to take in order to facilitate as soon as possible the implementation of the operational programmes, as well as the timeline it envisages;

    9.      Expresses serious concern, furthermore, at the payments backlog under cohesion policy for the 2007-2013 operational programmes and at the current blockage in the adoption of DAB No 3/2014 on the outstanding payments and BUDG 2015, which makes the situation of the unpaid bills even more critical; calls on the Member States to show a sense of responsibility and willingness to remedy this payments backlog which is endangering the credibility of EU funds;

    10.    Calls on the Commission to explain the impact of this delay in payments on the start-up of implementation of the new operational programmes and to put forward solutions for limiting the damage as much as possible;

    11.    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.