The last reunion of the General Affairs Council (GAC) - Cohesion package - took place today in Luxembourg, as part of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union Council, which is set to end on the 30th of June.
The Romanian presidency offered a brief presentation of the achievements during the Romanian mandate, on the sidelines of the legislative package regarding the Cohesion Policy for the period 2021-2017, while presenting the current status of the negotiations.
The reunion of the Council, chaired by Roxana Mînzatu, the president of GAC-Cohesion, was focused on two main topics. The first envisioned a presentation of the recorded progress within the Cohesion package concerning the Cohesion Policy during the Romanian Presidency.
Following the proposal of the European Commission on this legislative package in May 2018, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union partially adopted mandates for negotiation with the European Parliament concerning the Regulations that define the premises for using the future allocated European funds (CPR, ERDF, ESF+ and Interreg). All these four documents concern the discussions on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and are relevant for conceiving the new investment framework by the EU Member States.
“Romania had remarkable achievements in simplifying and rationing the regulations and in ensuring the necessary judicial clarity.
The position of the Council includes additional simplifying measures, apart from the proposals of the Commission, and improves many requests that are supposed to ease the life of the beneficiaries in the EU, without compromising the strategic role of the Cohesion Policy, that continues to stay close to our hearts. The consensus that has been reached during the Romanian Presidency received a robust support from the ministers responsible with the Cohesion Policy in the EU. We thank everyone, to the European Commission included, for the fruitful collaboration. The Council will have the mandates to negotiate with the European Parliament in order to reach an agreement and allow the new operational programmes to start in due time”, Roxana Mînzatu stated.
On behalf of the European Commission, Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, appreciated the Romanian Presidency for all efforts and progress registered for the 2021-2017 legislative package. Commissioner Crețu added that “Today debates touched important topics for the future of the Cohesion Policy. Although there were different opinions in the last years, we managed to identify together the suitable solutions for the interests of our citizens, for strengthening the territorial and economic cohesion”.
Hereinafter, the debate concentrated on the links between the Cohesion Policy, as the main investment policy of the European Union, and the process of economic governance - particularly on the link with the European Semester.
The delegations thanked Romania for the work during the 6 months of mandate and for the manner the negotiations were led. They showed, in their turn, that the success of the Cohesion Policy depends on the capacity of all relevant actors to contribute to its modernization and its adaptation to current realities and concrete needs of the European citizens, objective that still implies salient challenges.
At the end of the GAC-Cohesion, Mînzatu emphasized Romania’s accomplishments in the last 6 months. “We are very proud of this first mandate of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as we had remarkable achievements on the managed dossiers. In behalf of the government in Bucharest, I thank everyone for cooperation and the contribution to Romania’s success, a country that has to be discovered up to its true beauty and value”.
The outcome of the political debate today will be conducive to a better programming of the European funds in the future programming period.
What is the Cohesion Policy?
The Cohesion Policy is a financial instrument that ensures solidarity between the Member States and the European regions, as a founding principle of European integration.
The money directed to the Cohesion Policy generated incontestable benefits for the European citizens. Due to the Cohesion Policy, many citizens are now connected to water, internet and transportation infrastructure, they benefit from a better education in schools, assistance and medical treatments in hospitals or new qualifications in labour market. People work, innovate or start personal business owing to the Cohesion Policy, as well.
The Cohesion Policy stays therefore essential for the European solidarity.