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European territorial cooperation (Interreg) 2021-2027

20-09-2021

On 29 May 2018, the European Commission adopted several proposals aimed at defining the EU cohesion policy for the post-2020 programming period. The package includes a proposal for the new generation of European territorial cooperation (ETC) programmes, commonly referred to as 'Interreg'. The proposed regulation would bring significant changes to the architecture of ETC, with the reshaping of the three traditional cooperation strands (i.e. cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation ...

On 29 May 2018, the European Commission adopted several proposals aimed at defining the EU cohesion policy for the post-2020 programming period. The package includes a proposal for the new generation of European territorial cooperation (ETC) programmes, commonly referred to as 'Interreg'. The proposed regulation would bring significant changes to the architecture of ETC, with the reshaping of the three traditional cooperation strands (i.e. cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation) and the creation of two new components, one dedicated to outermost regions, the other to interregional cooperation on innovation. Another major novelty is the incorporation of cooperation with countries other than EU Member States. The proposal was examined simultaneously by the Council and the European Parliament. In Parliament, the Committee on Regional Development (REGI) was responsible for the file. Parliament adopted its legislative resolution on the proposal at first reading on 26 March 2019, enabling trilogue negotiations to get under way with the Council. Agreement on the text was reached at the trilogue meeting of 2 December 2020, with Parliament adopting the draft regulation on 23 June 2021. Signed on 24 June 2021, the final act was published in the EU Official Journal on 30 June 2021.

Brexit Adjustment Reserve

08-09-2021

With the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU customs union and single market creating new obstacles to trade, mobility and exchanges with the UK, affecting many businesses across the EU, the Brexit Adjustment Reserve aims to provide Member States with financial support to cover costs incurred in connection with Brexit. Parliament is due to vote at first reading during its September 2021 plenary session on the text agreed during interinstitutional negotiations.

With the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU customs union and single market creating new obstacles to trade, mobility and exchanges with the UK, affecting many businesses across the EU, the Brexit Adjustment Reserve aims to provide Member States with financial support to cover costs incurred in connection with Brexit. Parliament is due to vote at first reading during its September 2021 plenary session on the text agreed during interinstitutional negotiations.

European Union Solidarity Fund

03-09-2021

Established in 2002 to support disaster-stricken regions, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) complements the efforts of public authorities by helping to fund vital emergency and recovery operations in areas affected by catastrophes such as flooding, earthquakes and forest fires. EUSF funding is granted following an application from a Member State or candidate country, and may be used to finance measures including restoring infrastructure to working order, providing temporary accommodation ...

Established in 2002 to support disaster-stricken regions, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) complements the efforts of public authorities by helping to fund vital emergency and recovery operations in areas affected by catastrophes such as flooding, earthquakes and forest fires. EUSF funding is granted following an application from a Member State or candidate country, and may be used to finance measures including restoring infrastructure to working order, providing temporary accommodation and cleaning up disaster areas. Although the EUSF Regulation was revised in 2014, simplifying rules and clarifying eligibility criteria, several problems still remain. European Commission reports on the EUSF have drawn attention to the long waiting time countries still face before receiving EUSF funding, while industry experts also point to the risk that the EUSF could run out of funding in the event of several large disasters taking place within a short space of time. The coronavirus pandemic has placed the EUSF under the spotlight once again, with the scope of the EUSF Regulation extended in March 2020 to cover support in the event of a major public health emergency, and 17 Member States plus three candidate countries receiving vital assistance. The European Parliament has been actively involved in recent discussions on the EUSF, adopting a resolution on the review of the EUSF in May 2021 which included several measures aimed at improving its operations, and preparing a report on the effectiveness of Member States' use of EUSF money in cases of natural disasters. While the 2014 revision of the EUSF Regulation and the widening of its scope in 2020 have borne fruit, allowing the EUSF to provide unprecedented levels of support after the 2016/2017 earthquakes in Italy, ensuring much needed assistance in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EUSF will undergo a number of changes during 2021-2027. In particular, the merger of the EUSF with the Emergency Aid Reserve as part of the new Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve under the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, with a combined budget of €1.2 billion for both instruments, raises questions as to whether the EUSF will be able to continue to provide such effective levels of disaster recovery assistance in future. The July 2021 floods in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and the recent forest fires in Cyprus, Greece and Italy are a potent reminder of the EU's vulnerability in the face of the unpredictable forces of nature.

Brexit Adjustment Reserve

15-07-2021

As part of the preparations for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, the European Council agreed in July 2020 to create a Brexit adjustment reserve within the special instruments outside the budget ceilings of the European Union's multiannual financial framework, with a budget of €5 billion to counter unforeseen and adverse consequences in Member States and sectors that are most affected. The Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on the Brexit adjustment reserve on 25 ...

As part of the preparations for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, the European Council agreed in July 2020 to create a Brexit adjustment reserve within the special instruments outside the budget ceilings of the European Union's multiannual financial framework, with a budget of €5 billion to counter unforeseen and adverse consequences in Member States and sectors that are most affected. The Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on the Brexit adjustment reserve on 25 December 2020. The reserve will support public expenditure incurred by Member States from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2023 for eligible measures, which include support for affected sectors, training, and new border facilities. Funding will be available for all Member States, distributed in several allocation tranches, with 80 % of the resources due to be allocated to Member States in the form of pre-financing, to be disbursed in 2021, 2022 and 2023, and the remainder to be made available in 2025, where applicable. Each country's allocation is calculated based on the importance of its trade with the UK and, where applicable, its dependence on fisheries in UK waters and the size of the population of maritime border regions with the UK. In the European Parliament, the file was assigned to the Committee on Regional Development, which adopted its report on 25 May 2021. A final political trilogue meeting took place on 17 June 2021, confirming the political agreement reached between the Council and Parliament. That agreement now needs to be formally adopted in plenary, expected in September 2021, and then by the Council. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

European territorial cooperation (ETC)

21-06-2021

Better known as Interreg, European territorial cooperation is one of the most visible examples of how EU Member States can work together for the common good. Gradually growing in importance since its creation 30 years ago, its budget has increased tenfold in this period, with ETC acquiring its own regulation for 2014-2020. The proposal for a new ETC regulation is part of the post 2020 cohesion package, with the European Parliament expected to vote at second reading at its June II plenary session ...

Better known as Interreg, European territorial cooperation is one of the most visible examples of how EU Member States can work together for the common good. Gradually growing in importance since its creation 30 years ago, its budget has increased tenfold in this period, with ETC acquiring its own regulation for 2014-2020. The proposal for a new ETC regulation is part of the post 2020 cohesion package, with the European Parliament expected to vote at second reading at its June II plenary session on the text agreed during interinstitutional negotiations.

Outermost regions of the EU

25-05-2021

The European Union's outermost regions qualify for special treatment owing to structural difficulties – such as remoteness, difficult topography and economic dependence on a few products – that can severely hamper their development. Specific support mechanisms exist under cohesion, agricultural and fisheries policies, with the Commission outlining measures aimed at assisting outermost regions in communications published in 2004, 2008, and 2012. Nevertheless, with the outermost regions continuing ...

The European Union's outermost regions qualify for special treatment owing to structural difficulties – such as remoteness, difficult topography and economic dependence on a few products – that can severely hamper their development. Specific support mechanisms exist under cohesion, agricultural and fisheries policies, with the Commission outlining measures aimed at assisting outermost regions in communications published in 2004, 2008, and 2012. Nevertheless, with the outermost regions continuing to face numerous challenges in areas such as mobility, unemployment and climate change, discussions were launched on the formulation of a new strategy, which was published in October 2017. Offering a new approach to supporting the outermost regions' development by optimising their assets, exploiting new opportunities for growth and jobs, and focusing more on their specific circumstances and needs, the 2017 communication outlines a series of concrete and coordinated actions, calling for stronger partnership between outermost regions, Member States and the EU. In May 2018, the Commission put forward a broad package of proposals for the 2021-2027 period, providing the legislative framework needed to guide the strategy beyond 2020, taking account of the specific needs of outermost regions in a total of 21 proposals. Following political agreement between the European Parliament and Council, this new framework includes a number of new benefits for outermost regions, such as the right to use EU funds for investments in airport infrastructure, and extends many special measures from the 2014-2020 period. Published in March 2020, the European Commission report on implementation of the recommendations of the 2017 communication considers that concrete results have been delivered and that the process is going in the right direction. Yet with development continuing to lag behind in the outermost regions, it is clear that challenges persist, a situation that has been compounded by the heavy impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the outermost regions. This has led to calls for a new strategy, with European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira recently announcing plans to present a new communication in 2022. In light of the serious structural challenges facing these regions, however, it remains to be seen whether a future strategy and the special measures put forward for the post-2020 period will together be sufficient to close the inequalities gap with the rest of the EU. This is a revised and updated version of a briefing from May 2020.

Strengthening the Urban Agenda for the EU

29-01-2021

Towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at intergovernmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policymaking. To help guide these ...

Towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at intergovernmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policymaking. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 communication on the urban dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicated broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. The European Parliament also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue, as part of a process that would ultimately lead to the signing of the Pact of Amsterdam on 30 May 2016, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda. With the pact providing for urban partnerships focusing on key urban themes such as air quality, urban poverty and housing, all 14 partnerships have now drawn up action plans, allowing the partners involved to contribute to the design of future, or revision of current, EU legislation. Many of these plans are now at the implementation stage, and the partnerships' work is beginning to have an impact on EU policymaking, with the European Parliament and the Commission taking the recommendations on board. Challenges remain, however, with stakeholders highlighting issues such as limited resources, a lack of effective governance mechanisms or low participation of smaller cities. In this context, both the new cohesion framework post-2020, which includes a European urban initiative to support the Urban Agenda, and the New Leipzig Charter, which outlines the next steps for the Urban Agenda, have the potential to improve the delivery and impact of the Urban Agenda. The process of strengthening the Urban Agenda, however, will ultimately depend not only on the partnerships' ability to deliver actions but above all on the extent to which they are taken up by the Commission, a process requiring full commitment from all partners involved. This is a further update of an earlier briefing originally published in 2016 and last updated in 2019.

The public sector loan facility under the Just Transition Mechanism

21-12-2020

The public sector loan facility is the third pillar of the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM), along with the Just Transition Fund and just transition scheme under Invest EU. The facility will consist of a grant and a loan component. With the contribution of €1.525 billion for the grant component from the Union budget and EIB lending of €10 billion from its own resources, the aim is for the public sector loan facility to mobilise between €25 and 30 billion in public investment over the 2021-2027 period ...

The public sector loan facility is the third pillar of the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM), along with the Just Transition Fund and just transition scheme under Invest EU. The facility will consist of a grant and a loan component. With the contribution of €1.525 billion for the grant component from the Union budget and EIB lending of €10 billion from its own resources, the aim is for the public sector loan facility to mobilise between €25 and 30 billion in public investment over the 2021-2027 period. Funding will be available to all Member States, while focusing on the regions with the biggest transition challenges. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Budgets (BUDG) and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) have joint responsibility for this file. Their report was adopted at a joint sitting of the two committees on 16 October 2020. Parliament subsequently confirmed the committees' mandate to open trilogue negotiations. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

A renewed territorial agenda for the EU

07-12-2020

The main objective of the territorial agenda is to strengthen territorial cohesion, an EU principle that seeks to ensure the balanced development of the EU and reduce its regional disparities. Agreed in May 2011 and the culmination of a process begun many years earlier with the European Spatial Development Perspective, the Territorial Agenda 2020 has recently been renewed with a view to establishing a continued role for this initiative within the EU's new cohesion policy framework beyond 2020. Aimed ...

The main objective of the territorial agenda is to strengthen territorial cohesion, an EU principle that seeks to ensure the balanced development of the EU and reduce its regional disparities. Agreed in May 2011 and the culmination of a process begun many years earlier with the European Spatial Development Perspective, the Territorial Agenda 2020 has recently been renewed with a view to establishing a continued role for this initiative within the EU's new cohesion policy framework beyond 2020. Aimed at ensuring the Europe 2020 strategy was implemented in line with the principle of territorial cohesion, the Territorial Agenda 2020 strived to promote the integration of the territorial dimension across many different policies. To deliver on this ambition, it established an action-oriented political framework based around six territorial priorities and a series of implementation mechanisms to make EU territorial cohesion a reality. However, with the territorial agenda a low political priority in past years, implementation remained weak, while the process itself was beset by challenges, such as fragile intergovernmental cooperation and a low level of awareness. This situation was compounded by the complex and abstract nature of the territorial agenda, making it difficult to communicate its aims and objectives. Set up in 2018 during the Austrian Presidency, an intergovernmental taskforce led the work on the renewal of the territorial agenda, the aim being to conclude the process under the German Presidency, leading to the adoption of the Territorial Agenda 2030 in December 2020. Spanned by two overarching priorities, a 'just Europe' and a 'green Europe', the renewed territorial agenda establishes a clear link with the European Commission's current priorities and its strategy for sustainable growth, the European Green Deal. While this structure has the potential to help embed the territorial agenda more firmly within the EU's policy-making system, increasing its relevance and improving its visibility, the advent of this important addition to the EU's territorial toolbox risks being overshadowed by the rollout of the new MFF in the months ahead. This is an updated edition of a Briefing from March 2020.

The New Leipzig Charter

04-12-2020

Adopted during the 2007 German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities helped establish the concept of integrated urban development at EU level and was influential in the development of EU initiatives such as the Urban Agenda. It has now been updated to link in with this new urban framework and take account of the fresh challenges facing cities, with the New Leipzig Charter adopted at the informal meeting of ministers responsible for urban and territorial ...

Adopted during the 2007 German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities helped establish the concept of integrated urban development at EU level and was influential in the development of EU initiatives such as the Urban Agenda. It has now been updated to link in with this new urban framework and take account of the fresh challenges facing cities, with the New Leipzig Charter adopted at the informal meeting of ministers responsible for urban and territorial development on 30 November 2020.

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