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Postupak : 2011/2312(INI)
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Odabrani dokument : A7-0421/2012

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PV 14/01/2013 - 22
CRE 14/01/2013 - 22

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PV 15/01/2013 - 9.2

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Texts adopted
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Tuesday, 15 January 2013 - Strasbourg Final edition
Role of territorial development in cohesion policy

European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2013 on optimising the role of territorial development in cohesion policy (2011/2312(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Title XVIII thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999(1) ,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2006/702/EC of 6 October 2006 on Community strategic guidelines on cohesion(2) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2011 on the Commission’s fifth Cohesion Report and the strategy for post-2013 cohesion policy(3) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 June 2011 on the state of play and future synergies for increased effectiveness between the ERDF and other structural funds(4) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 June 2011 on ‘Investing in the future: a new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive Europe’(5) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 June 2011 on European Urban Agenda and its Future in Cohesion Policy(6) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 June 2011 on ‘Objective 3: a challenge for territorial cooperation – the future agenda for cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation’(7) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 October 2010 on EU cohesion and regional policy after 2013(8) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2010 on the contribution of the Cohesion policy to the achievement of Lisbon and the EU2020 Objectives(9) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2010 on the implementation of the synergies of research and innovation earmarked Funds in Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 on the European Regional Development Fund and the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development in cities and regions as well as in the Member States and the Union(10) ,

–  having regard to the study published by Parliament entitled ‘Cohesion policy after 2013: a critical assessment of the legislative proposals’,

–  having regard to the Polish Presidency Conclusions of 24-25 November 2011 on the territorial dimension of EU policies and the future Cohesion Policy(11) ,

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 October 2011 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 covered by the Common Strategic Framework and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (COM(2011)0615),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 6 October 2011 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions concerning the European Regional Development Fund and the Investment for growth and jobs goal and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 (COM(2011)0614),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 9 November 2010 entitled ‘Conclusions of the fifth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: the future of cohesion policy’ (COM(2010)0642),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 October 2010 entitled ‘The EU Budget Review’ (COM(2010)0700) and the technical annexes thereto (SEC(2010)7000),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 6 October 2010 entitled ‘Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020’(COM(2010)0553),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 31 March 2010 entitled ‘Cohesion policy: Strategic Report 2010 on the implementation of the programmes 2007-2013’ (COM(2010)0110),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020: a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to ‘An agenda for a reformed cohesion policy – A place-based approach to meeting European Union challenges and expectations’, an independent report prepared at the request of Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, by Fabrizio Barca (April 2009),

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0421/2012),

A.  whereas cohesion policy aims to reduce disparities among EU regions by strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion, and whereas it has been effective in promoting European integration through social and economic development;

B.  whereas the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) sets out common rules applicable to all five European funding programmes (European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF), Cohesion Fund, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EARDF), European Marine and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)) that are designed to implement cohesion, rural and fisheries policies;

C.  whereas the Common Strategic Framework looks at mechanisms to create more coordination among the funds covered by the CPR (ERDF, ESF, Cohesion Fund, EARDF, EMFF) and better integration of the funds covered by the CPR with other EU policy areas;

D.  whereas the territorial dimension is a cross-cutting aspect of cohesion policy and gives European regions the opportunity to make use of individual territorial potential in order to work towards achieving cohesion policy objectives;

E.  whereas territorial cohesion is now recognised by the Lisbon Treaty as a fundamental EU objective;

Overarching concerns: strengthening the territorial objective

1.  Recognises a simplified multi-level governance system as integral to the decision-making process under cohesion policy, with collaboration necessary at every stage at European, national, regional and local level in the planning, development and execution of European funding programmes; calls on the Commission to ensure that this is reflected in the development of clear and well-defined partnership contracts;

2.  Highlights the importance of the European code of conduct for Member States, regions and local authorities during the preparation, implementation and monitoring of funding programmes; recognises that, in order to achieve such collaboration, it is important to ensure that decisions are made at the closest possible level to citizens;

3.  Emphasises that, despite significant progress towards convergence in the EU, disparities (e.g. in terms of accessibility) still exist, and are continuing to widen, between EU regions; highlights the fact that the budget for cohesion policy post-2013 must be at least maintained at its current level in order to ensure that support continues to reach areas in need of economic and social regeneration in all regions of the EU;

4.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposals to focus on measurable results delivered by cohesion policy in order to increase the sustainability of investments and guarantee the effectiveness of funding programmes; highlights the need for the focus on a results-led system to include flexibility at national, regional and local level, taking into account simplification, programming priorities and partnership, so that results-led systems are region-specific;

5.  Endorses the Commission’s overarching proposals throughout the CPR to reduce administrative burden; highlights the fact, therefore, that rules, checks and eligibility must be made clear from the outset and that successful simplification of administrative procedures can be achieved through an integrated approach to the delivery of funds;

6.  Underlines the importance, in shaping and implementing cohesion policy, of ensuring a fair balance between necessary checks on the use of funds and their effectiveness;

7.  Stresses the need to ensure a flexible approach to setting local and regional objectives, with stakeholders at regional level involved at all stages to ensure that European funding programmes meet the needs to tackle social and economic disparities;

8.  Emphasises that flexibility should extend to greater provision for projects to operate across different funds covered by the CPR and that this increased flexibility would help to simplify project delivery and increase the complementary and cross-cutting aspects of European funding;

9.  Emphasises that territorial cohesion objectives are inextricably linked to economic and social challenges and recognises that cohesion policy can make a valuable contribution to delivering on the Europe 2020 targets, especially in the fields of employment, education and poverty reduction, by introducing a territorial dimension to Europe’s growth strategy;

10.  Highlights the fact that using other funding programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020), possibly in alignment with cohesion policy funding, should also be considered when working towards Europe 2020 objectives;

11.  Recognises the increased focus on cities and urban areas as a driver of economic growth;

12.  Highlights the importance of strengthening existing urban-rural linkages and promoting new ones; emphasises that this requires a strong multi-level focus and collaboration between rural and urban stakeholders, and that the right conditions must be created through fostering partnerships and networks in order to encourage rural participation in the integrated activities of a given functional geographical entity;

13.  Highlights the need to link territorial cooperation programmes more effectively with territorial strategies and underlines the potential role of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) in achieving this;

14.  Emphasises that, due to the differing size, resources and social and economic aspects of cities and urban areas in the EU, the definition of these areas is decided at Member State level;

15.  Stresses that territorial cohesion also applies to cohesion within territories i.e. ensuring that the whole area makes an economic contribution, not just the large cities, and emphasises that the potential of small and medium-sized towns in rural areas to make a significant contribution to the region should not be overlooked;

16.  Stresses that in order to address the cross-cutting aspects of territorial cohesion with a view to producing tangible results at regional level and fully exploiting the individual potential of regions, clear and well-defined Partnership Contracts are needed; emphasises that this can only be achieved with the involvement of actors at local and regional level, so that all parties can contribute to the preparation and delivery of programmes; highlights that this is especially important when aiming to support territories that face specific challenges, such as cross-border, mountain, island and outermost regions;

Greater integration of European funds for 2014-2020

17.  Welcomes CPR proposals that encourage better coordination and integration of funding programmes in order to ensure greater impact of funds, and the stronger presence of the territorial dimension of cohesion policy in the framework for 2014-2020;

18.  Emphasises that a stronger and more integrated territorial approach to European funding, with adequate capacity-building and the involvement of social and civil society partners at local and regional level, in both urban and rural settings, is a positive way of ensuring that money is directed towards addressing Europe’s long-term social and economic challenges;

19.  Stresses that improved harmonisation between cohesion policy and other policy areas outlined by the CPR will allow European regions to continue to develop economically by making use of their individual strengths;

20.  Cites as an example the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO) and its intention of integrating European funds in Wales by creating a single ‘portal’ allowing access to information on all funds covered by the CPR; underlines the potential for WEFO’s ’portal’ to include a common platform with a single application, payments, monitoring and evaluation process for all funds covered by the CPR; emphasises that this approach would allow for easier identification of potential synergies and integration between funding streams, thus harmonising and simplifying the process of applying for European funds;

21.  Emphasises that, given the characteristics shared by the funds covered by the CPR and other funding programmes (e.g. Horizon 2020, LIFE+), the effectiveness of European funding could be enhanced by exploring the potential alignment between these funds;

Mechanisms for integrating European Funds

22.  Welcomes the proposals for a regulatory framework with a focus on local and integrated development through ‘community-led local development’, ’joint action plans’ and ‘integrated territorial investment’;

23.  Stresses that, following the Commission’s proposals, all investment must complement local needs and not overlap with other projects;

24.  Calls for a fully integrated approach to related delivery instruments (community-led local development (CLLD), integrated territorial investments (ITIs), joint action plans (JAPs)), allowing local partnerships to choose, according to their individual needs, different combinations of these instruments as appropriate, and for consideration to be given to the possibility of applying flexible arrangements for the purpose of concentrating resources, taking into account the specific needs of Member States and regions;

25.  Highlights the need to keep the application of the proposed instrument as simple as possible, so as to avoid adding to the administrative burden of local authorities and to keep in line with simplification objectives;

26.  Considers that institutional capacity at different levels of intervention is a significant element ensuring the successful application of the territorial approach;

27.  Highlights the example of the sub-delegation to councils in the Netherlands, which includes parts of funding programmes (e.g. ERDF) being delegated from the regional authority to local authorities, with actions implemented at local level to address local needs; stresses that allocating management responsibility to local authorities gives greater potential to integrate the best combination of funds tailored to local needs; emphasises that, with the management structures already in place at local level, this approach could benefit the delivery of ITIs at local or sub-local level;

Community-led local development (CLLD)

28.  Supports the Commission’s proposals on CLLD as an important provision of the CPR which will focus on developing synergies between all funds covered by the CPR;

29.  Considers this instrument to be an excellent way of encouraging bottom-up participation from a cross-section of local community actors working towards sustainable territorial objectives; welcomes, in this connection, the further strengthening of administrative capacity at regional and local level for capacity-building actions aimed at improving the participation of both local and regional authorities and of the social partners;

30.  Recognises the past success of the Leader programme as an important tool for the delivery of rural development policy and believes that through CLLD this delivery mechanism can be instrumental in responding to local and regional challenges; supports also the use of CLLD for urban development;

31.  Calls for the Commission to clarify its proposals on CLLD in the implementation phase in order to allow potential participants to fully determine the likely purpose, scope and effect of CLLD; looks forward to the publication of a guide to CLLD for Managing Authorities;

32.  Recognises the progress made since 2007 with Fisheries Local Action Groups working with Leader Local Action Groups (LAGs) as an example of how future CLLD could combine funds at local level across the funds covered by the CPR; highlights the example of 11 local partnerships in Denmark that use both the EARDF (Leader) and the European Fisheries Fund (Axis 4) to fund projects using the same delivery system and administration;

33.  Underlines the need to look at examples such as the integrated use of EARDF and EMFF funds through CLLD in the future programming period as a way of developing synergies between all funds covered by the CPR;

Joint action plans

34.  Supports proposals by the CPR to introduce joint action plans to allow groups of projects to be funded by more than one operational programme;

35.  Recognises joint action plans as a positive step towards results-based management, in line with one of the overarching aims of cohesion policy post-2013;

36.  Stresses the importance of ensuring that these instruments are developed alongside CLLD in order to ensure that CLLD grows into more than merely a strategic tool for local capacity development rather than an investment goal in itself, while promoting, inter alia, social inclusion and combating poverty;

37.  Calls for clarification on the scope and integration of joint action plans, and on whether they will be used to deliver entire, or only parts of, programmes;

38.  Recognises that joint action plans can offer effective assistance in achieving the balanced integration of young people into the labour market; points out, however, that excessively long decision-making processes and administrative procedures should be avoided;

Integrated territorial investment (ITI)

39.  Welcomes the proposals for ITIs, which could provide cities with the opportunity to meet their own specific needs by drawing on funding from more than one priority axis to implement operational programmes in an integrated way;

40.  Welcomes further clarification on the scope of ITIs and the potential for the instrument, if it fits local needs, to be used also in non-urban and peri-urban areas, with the use of all the funds covered by the CPR; emphasises that the coherence of ITIs with regional sustainable development strategies has to be ensured in order to improve economic and social cohesion, not only among regions, but also among urban and non-urban areas within the regions;

41.  Highlights the example of a proposed model for ITIs from Greater Manchester, which integrates funding from as many relevant sources as possible to achieve better value from investment; highlights the fact that the development of this model is ongoing and could potentially be used to support a strategy bringing many economic and social benefits to the city region; emphasises that the proposed ITI would integrate ERDF priorities with ESF measures and that, given the increased focus of the ERDF on SMEs and innovation, there is potential for the ITI to create links with Horizon 2020 projects in the future;

Financial instruments

42.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposals for greater use, and extension of the scope, of financial instruments through the creation of simpler and clearer rules to ensure increased effectiveness across all the five funds covered by the CPR;

43.  Highlights the potential of financial instruments, including micro-credits, to open up alternative sources of finance for a wide range of actors to complement traditional financing methods; stresses that in the future funding framework financial instruments should have the ability to lever private funding and offer flexibility to Member States and regions to tailor target sectors and implementation methods to their specific needs;

44.  Stresses that financial instruments, as mechanisms allowing cooperation between enterprises, public sector organisations and educational institutions, should also be encouraged as a means of developing an integrated approach to funding;

Integration of the funds covered by the CPR with other EU policies and instruments

45.  Welcomes the proposals in the Common Strategic Framework for Partnership Contracts to outline potential alignment between the funds covered by the CPR and other funding programmes, such as the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (previously FP7, now Horizon 2020), LIFE + and the Connecting Europe Facility;

46.  Recognises that, while funding programmes such as Horizon 2020 are primarily focused on excellence, Structural Funds have previously been successful in a ‘capacity-building’ role by providing funding to develop businesses or organisations that have then gone on to become partners in FP7 or Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) projects;

47.  Stresses that the existing synergies between the funds covered by the CPR and Horizon 2020 mean that both sources of funding could potentially be used while working towards complementary thematic objectives;

Employment and social aspects

48.  Stresses that employment and social policies play an important role in sustainable and socially balanced territorial development and have much to contribute to reducing regional disparities and improving the well-being of all citizens while providing equal opportunities for all;

49.  Stresses that combating poverty includes combating exclusion, and that rural regions with low population density or ageing populations have to deal with insufficient provision of healthcare services, which could be offset to a certain extent by improved accessibility to broadband technologies and the promotion of telemedicine;

50.  Considers that the territorial approach should prove an effective mechanism for supporting SMEs in creating new sustainable jobs and initiating or developing vocational training programmes; considers that entrepreneurial activity aimed at growth and employment and the tapping of potential can work across administrative territorial boundaries, and calls on the Member States to improve the existing conditions for new entrepreneurs in order to better exploit their high potential for creating new sustainable jobs;

51.  Underlines the importance of creating strong synergies between cohesion policy and other EU policies, in order to safeguard the effectiveness of cohesion policy in addressing current employment and social challenges;

52.  Points out that territorial cooperation and macroregional strategies could be useful instruments for identifying and combating regional disparities, e.g. in access to education and employment, and for promoting convergence between European regions;

53.  Believes that voluntary mobility of workers and young graduates in the EU could be a solution for regional and local labour market shortages, and encourages Member States and regions to make more effective use of such mobility in order to encourage territorial development and cohesion;

54.  Considers it essential to coordinate the actions supported by the ESF at different policy levels, in order to allow an efficient territorial approach; considers it necessary, in particular, to link educational services and facilities to local labour market needs;

55.  Believes it is of paramount importance to promote exchanges of best practice between Member States, in the context of meaningful and effective long-term territorial development planning and by promoting decent and sustainable employment with a view to preventing and fighting poverty and unemployment;

o   o

56.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 25.
(2) OJ L 291, 21.10.2006, p. 11.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0316.
(4) OJ C 390 E, 18.12.2012, p. 27.
(5) OJ C 380 E, 11.12.2012, p. 89.
(6) OJ C 390 E, 18.12.2012, p. 10.
(7) OJ C 390 E, 18.12.2012, p. 18.
(8) OJ C 371 E, 20.12.2011, p. 39.
(9) OJ C 161 E, 31.5.2011, p. 120.
(10) OJ C 161 E, 31.5.2011, p. 104.
(11) Polish Presidency Conclusions on the territorial dimension of EU policies and the future Cohesion Policy, ‘Towards an integrated, territorially differentiated and institutionally smart response to EU challenges’, 24-25 November 2011, Poznań.

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