Rules for EU 2021-2027 investment in all regions to boost economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU were revamped by the Regional Development Committee.
The report, drafted by Constanze Krehl (S&D, DE) and Andrey Novakov (EPP, BG), was adopted by 25 in favour, 1 against and 9 abstentions. Regional Development Committee members agreed with the new horizontal goals laid down in the EU Commission proposal and welcome simplified rules to boost locally driven projects and applications from smaller businesses.
Financing rates and the overall amount should be kept at current levels, they say, with the budget for 'Economic, social and territorial cohesion' amounting to €378.1 billion in 2018 prices (14 % more than the Commission's proposal of €330.6 billion).
Less developed regions will keep benefiting from substantial EU support, with co-financing rates of up to 85 % (instead of 70 % as proposed by the Commission) and an overall envelope of 61,6 % of the Regional Development, Social and Cohesion funds. The co-financing rate for transition and more developed regions has also been increased, to 65% and 50%, respectively. €1.6 billion (0.4%) should be set aside as additional funding for the outermost regions.
Resources for cross-border projects under Interreg, the European Regional Development Fund, shall amount to €11.3 billion in 2018 prices, 3% (instead of the 2.5% proposed by the Commission) of the global cohesion resources.
MEPs agreed that the Social Fund may, in duly justified cases, provide for co-financing rates of up to 90 %, for priorities supporting innovative actions.
“Today´s vote in the Regional Development Committee is one the most important of this legislative term - on the future of regional policy. I am glad that we could agree that all regions should participate and that co-financing should remain at its current levels. Furthermore, the outcome of this vote allows for regions to engage in the fight against climate change, with 30 % of the resources dedicated to this effect”, said co-rapporteur Constanze Krehl after the vote.
"It is our common achievement to be able to vote in plenary as early as February. This offers us a historical chance to start negotiations with Council the days after. We want to provide answers to beneficiaries about funding of new projects beyond 2020 and enable them to start work on 1 January 2021", said Andrey Novakov (EPP, BG).
The Committee is ready to start negotiations with the European Commission and the Council as soon as plenary will have approved the negotiating mandate, in a vote scheduled during 11-14 February plenary session.
The Common Provisions will apply to the Regional Development Fund, the Social Fund (EFS+), the Cohesion Fund, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and set out financial rules for the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument 2021-2027. To exploit synergies between funds, the Regional Development Committee also wants to bring the Rural Development Fund under the new Common Provisions. The funds covered make up for about a third of the EU´s total budget.