Motion for a resolution - B8-0284/2014Motion for a resolution

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

Lambert van Nistelrooij, Tamás Deutsch, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Jan Olbrycht, Marc Joulaud, Franck Proust, Tunne Kelam, Claude Rolin, Pascal Arimont, Krzysztof Hetman, Joachim Zeller, Raffaele Fitto, Franc Bogovič, Tomáš Zdechovský, Stanislav Polčák, Maurice Ponga, Daniel Buda, Siegfried Mureşan, Ivana Maletić, Michaela Šojdrová, Lara Comi, Jiří Pospíšil, Iuliu Winkler on behalf of the PPE Group

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

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


The European Parliament,

–       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 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 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 represents the main EU-wide investment policy in the real economy and an excellent driver for growth in Europe with a budget of over EUR 350 billion until 2020;

B.     whereas through thematic concentration the resources are targeted on a limited number of strategic goals with growth-enhancing potential such as innovation and research, the digital agenda, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the low carbon economy, and also on training, education and infrastructure;

C.     whereas the Partnership Agreements (PAs) and Operational Programmes (OPs) are strategic tools to guide the investments in Member States and regions in line with the overall aims of the Europe 2020 goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth;

D.     whereas Articles 14, 16 and 29 of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 provide for the timeline for the submission and the adoption of Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes, according to which Partnership Agreements should have been adopted by the end of August 2014 and the Operational Programmes by the end of January 2015 at the latest;

E.     whereas we are facing a clear delay at the level of the programming process, with only a very limited number of Operational Programmes foreseen to be adopted by the end of 2014 (about 100);

F.     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;

G.     whereas there are two scenarios envisaged for the adoption of Operational Programmes, both implying further delays as regards the start-up of 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 European Structural and Investment Funds, implying a technical revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), for the programmes considered ‘not ready for adoption’ by the end of 2014;

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

I.      whereas besides the delay in the implementation for 2014-2020, cohesion policy is also confronted with a backlog of payments for the 2007-2013 programming period, both undermining its credibility;

1.      Expresses very serious concerns as regards the significant delay in the implementation of cohesion policy 2014-2020, while recognising the importance of adopting high-quality Operational Programmes at the start of the programming period in order to avoid reprogramming afterwards;

2.      Recalls that cohesion policy, together with the co-financing ensured by the Member States, provides for a major proportion of the growth-related public expenditure in the EU; stresses that it is therefore imperative to start the implementation of the new programmes as soon as possible, in order to strengthen the investments dynamic, boost job creation and raise productivity growth;

3.      Urges the Commission and the Member States to show responsibility and to do their utmost to speed up the adoption of a maximum number of Operational Programmes already in 2014 and also to ensure that as many programmes as possible 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;

4.      Demands that the Commission analyse all possibilities of streamlining its internal procedures in order to ensure that Operational Programmes resubmitted after the deadline of 17 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;

5.      Is aware that the second scenario, applicable to the Operational Programmes not ready for adoption by the end of 2014, namely the rebudgeting of the uncommitted amounts of 2014 in 2015, according to Article 19 of the MFF, implies a revision of the MFF by 1 May 2015, which, even if technical, has to comply with the multiannual budget procedure; invites, therefore, the Commission to engage as soon as possible in discussions with Parliament and the Council in order to lay out a credible roadmap that ensures the adoption of the MFF revision as early as possible in 2015;

6.      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;

7.      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 timeline it envisages;

8.      Is alarmed about the status of the payments backlog under 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 sense, on the basis of the new Commission proposals, by the end of 2014;

9.      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.