Following the initiative of the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Marko Pavić a video conference of EU ministers and representatives of the Member States responsible for Cohesion Policy with the participation of European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira was held in Zagreb on Friday 27 March.
The main topic of the video conference was the exchange of views between the EU ministers and representatives of the Member States on the new package of specific Cohesion Policy measures the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) as an integral part of the European Coordinated Response to mitigate the economic consequences of coronavirus outbreak.
„We discussed a negative impact of coronavirus outbreak on our economies, companies and workers and exchanged views on the best approach to use Cohesion Funds for implementing Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in our countries. We agreed to join our efforts to appeal to European Commission to extend the possibility of using the majority of the remaining European Structural and Investment Funds in our countries for health care, entrepreneurship, labour markets and liquidity and to use these funding options with maximum flexibility and as quickly as possible. The power of collective and coordinated action will help us overcome the implications of the crisis on our societies “
Marko Pavić, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds
The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative includes a package of specific measures aiming to help and protect Member States’ economies, companies and workers by mobilising already available cash reserves of the European Structural and Investments Funds to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic. The ministers agreed that funding should be accessible, with minimum additional administrative work and available as soon as possible.
„We are living one of the most serious crises in living memory: a crisis that threatens lives but also jobs and prosperity. Exceptional times call for exceptional measures: the European Commission has immediately proposed adaptations to the Cohesion policy so that it can bring a much-needed urgent support to our Member States and citizens. These would allow to redirect funds to healthcare systems, small and medium sized companies and workers. We are already in contact with Member States to assist them in making full use of these possibilities. Based on feedback received, we are actively assessing which further measures would be needed. The motto of cohesion policy is “no European left behind”: today more than ever, this solidarity is essential. This crisis shows, once again, the urgent need of an agreement on the EU long term budget 2021-2027, in particular to continue our support to the post Coronavirus crisis recovery efforts. Therefore, I have called once again on Member States to ensure a swift agreement with the European Parliament on the new budget. “
Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms
Ministers and representatives of the Member States also emphasised the need to adopt an ambitious EU long term budget 2021-2027 to continue support in mitigating the impact of pandemic and economic crisis.