On 23rd March, local and regional leaders of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) gathered together in Brussels with the rapporteur of the European Parliament Jan Olbrycht to discuss about the Cohesion Policy after 2020.
After several discussions on shortenings in the EU budget, what strongly emerged is that the Cohesion Policy should not become marginalized. On the contrary, its strategic role should be maintained and reinforced to persevere in achieving the target of cohesion, namely the reduction of regional disparities in EU. What does it mean? It means to provide EU’s citizens with an improved and balanced quality of life in all the regions, and especially along the borders that are often marginalized. This is fundamental to do not erode the single market and trusty relations among the States and to preserve Europe from an increasing nationalism.
Mieczysław Struk, president of Pomorskie Region (Poland), gave his contribution with a draft opinion on The cost and risk of non-cohesion: The strategic value of cohesion policy for pursuing the Treaty objectives and facing new challenges for European regions .
Despite Brexit and the consequent debates on EU budget, the EU Parliament is calling for support after 2020 for the Common Agricultural Policy and the Cohesion Policy, trying to avoid cuts in the budget and to maintain the current level of spendings. The wish is to support regional development through the ERDF, ESF and the Cohesion Fund. Furthermore, it emerged a need to improve programs like Horizon 2020, COSME, YEI, Erasmus + and LIFE + to strengthen cooperation for economy, competitiveness and youth opportunities. But these are not the only sectors that would need an improvement if it is considered the migration crisis and how to deal with security and defence.
CoR called for a “budget that supports a Europe closer to its citizens” and for a future Cohesion Policy as “pillar of the EU’s future”.
You can read the entire article here: http://cor.europa.eu/en/news/Pages/There-is-no-future-for-Europe-without-solidarity.aspx
An interesting year ahead for Interreg Baltic Sea Region. As underlined by Susanne Scherrer, Director of the Managing Authority/ Joint Secretariat, in the course of 2018 projects of the first call will deliver their main outputs, project platforms will pick up their work to maximise the effects of projects’ results and the vast majority of the Programme’s funds will be allocated to the third call project selection. From 5 October 2017 to 15 January 2018, Interreg Baltic Sea Region was accepting new project ideas for a more innovative, better accessible and sustainable Baltic Sea region in the third call for project applications. As many as 269 project idea forms have been submitted throughout this time period.
As for the Baltic Sea cooperation with Russia, the Financing Agreement between the Russian Federation and the European Commission has successfully been concluded and signed. A total of EUR 8.8 million of EU and Russian funding is now available to enable full participation of Russian partners in our cooperation projects and thus closes the circle of countries bordering the Baltic Sea. According to the Financing Agreement, the European Commission allocated EUR 4.4 million from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) to Interreg Baltic Sea Region for Russian beneficiaries. In parallel, Russia earmarked EUR 4.4 million for the Programme budget. The funding rate for Russian partners is up to 85%. All funds will be implemented based on the same set of Programme rules.
At the same time, the foundation of Transnational Cooperation funding after 2020 is being laid. The document is a good opportunity to take a look at the role that Interreg transnational programmes actually play in the context of the EU’s cohesion policy and at the added value of transnational cooperation from the Baltic Sea region and across Europe.
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The number of people attending the 15ht European Week of Regions and Cities, that took place in Brussels on October 9-12, proves the success of the initiative. Indeed nearly 6000 participants and over 800 speakers from all over Europe gathered in Belgium’s capital town to share ideas about the current and the future situation of regions and cities in Europe, exchange best practices and discuss cohesion policy. » Read more
Launched in the frame of the 15th European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussel, the Cohesion Alliance has been designed to be the strongest and most effective cohesion policy for all regions, beyond 2020. On October 11th, over 150 high-level representatives of the European territorial associations, regional policy practitioners and experts, discussed the further steps to take for enhancing the Cohesion Alliance which currently is worth one-third of the EU budget. » Read more
On 4-5 June 2018, the 9th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR will be held in Tallinn (Estonia). Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia with the Baltic Development Forum in close cooperation with the European Commission, it will see the participation of nearly 700 representatives from governments, international organisations, NGOs, universities, local and regional administrations and businesses. They will be gathered there together to discuss developments and challenges in the Baltic Sea Region.
The main theme of the 9th Annual Forum will be the Baltic Sea Region After 2020. The Forum will be specifically focused on how to improve the implementation of the EUSBSR in the framework of the future EU Cohesion Policy. Therefore, it will be a great opportunity to discuss the current state of the ecosystem in the Baltic Sea as well as provisions to advance the region as a global digital hub.
Take a look at the video realized to promote the event
During the ERB Executive Board meeting in Palanga (18th-19th September) a position paper on the future EU Cohesion Policy after 2020 was signed by Ms. Akko Karlsson, ERB president, and Mr. Per Ole Petersen, ERB Vice-President.
In the document, the ERB adopted four main recommendations regarding a strengthened EU Cohesion Policy, the importance of European Territorial Cooperation and people-to-people projects, improved coordination with macro-regional strategies, and simplified administrative and financial regulations.
ERB supports economic, social and territorial cohesion, recognizing the importance of the European Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs underlying, in this frame, the need of distinguishing between cohesion and investment policies.
One point that has been underlined regards the need of adopting shared management instruments for a real involvement of actors at local and regional level, apart from the development of small-scale, people-to-people projects in order to build-up trust in the neighbouring regions.
ERB will strive to align its activities with the macro-regional strategies- with the EUSBSR in this case. Moreover, in this macro-region Russia plays a fundamental role that pushed ERB to commit in carrying on a dialogue with Kaliningrad Region on topics of common interests.
Finally, ERB asked for simplified administrative and financial regulations.
The position is available at this link.