The Commission for Territorial Cohesion of the Committee of the Regions (COTER) and the European Parliament Committee for Regional Development (REGI) met jointly on 17 December to discuss how to ensure that the recently adopted reform of the EU cohesion policy is effectively implemented, even in its most challenging aspects such as the partnership principle and new investment tools integrating different funds.
"The new Cohesion policy package will offer significant improvements for cities and regions, in particular on the strengthening of the principles of partnership and multilevel governance which was one of the major demands of the Committee of the Regions. We also welcome the new approach of strategic programming and the new instruments such as Integrated Territorial Investment and Community-Led Local Development that could not only ensure that local and regional specificities are duly taken into account but can also contribute towards competitiveness and growth in our cities and regions that we need in order to overcome the current economic and social crisis" said the COTER chair, Marek Wozniak (PL/EPP), Marshall of the Wielkopolska region. He also warned on the actual implementation of the reform: "It is crucial to ensure that these new instruments are actually used and that the principles of partnership and multilevel governance are actually been followed and not remain mere lip-service". A risk that, with regards to the involvement of regions and cities in the shaping of partnership agreements and operational programmes, has been widened by the regulations late adoption as well as by an uncompleted regulatory framework, as it's the case of the European Code of Conduct on Partnership, that is still to be adopted.
According to the chair of the EP REGI Committee, Danuta Hübner, (EPP/PL), "We will have as of January 2014 a far reaching reform of the EU cohesion and regional policy which shall be fundamentally focused on promoting better economic environment for growth and jobs, as committed in the EU 2020 strategy. The legislation provides with the necessary financing and framework to implement an effective and efficient structural investment policy. The next step is to fully develop its potential through the Partnership Agreements that should be signed as soon as possible". She also called for: "A close cooperation between the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions. We need to work hand in hand to ensure an efficient and prompt start of the new programmes and investment".
Among the most debated issues in the meeting, the impact of both ex-ante and macro-economic conditionalities, that are making much more complex the programming exercise, the future absorption of Structural and Investment Funds and the take up of the new territorial-approach oriented instruments, such as Integrated Territorial Investments, Community-led local development, as well as joint action plans, territorial pacts or multi-fund operational programmes.
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Press Officer (Committee of the Regions)
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