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General Affairs Council (Cohesion), 18 November 2021

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad), gepubliceerd op donderdag 18 november 2021, 14:30.

Main results

The Council held a debate on the contribution of cohesion policy programmes to recovery, competitive sustainability, the green and digital transitions, resilience and economic, social and territorial cohesion.

Cohesion policy is one of the most effective and important policies of the Union. When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, it proved to be an effective mechanism for responding to the crisis and it will ensure a balanced recovery, especially in synergy with the Recovery and Resilience Facility, leaving no one behind. We are talking about funds contributed by the citizens to the EU budget, so they must be returned to the people through a number of programmes and projects.

Zvonko Černač, Slovenian Minister for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Council Presidency

Ministers discussed the challenges and opportunities in the coming years, focusing on issues reflected in the Presidency discussion paper.

In particular, they addressed two questions:

  • How can cohesion policy be combined with other EU instruments to further reduce development disparities and enhance resilience in the medium and long term?
  • How can the different needs of individual regions and territories be properly addressed and the implementation of EU funds be brought closer to beneficiaries and citizens?

The view was expressed that the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic poses an enormous challenge to the EU territorial cohesion.

European cohesion funds significantly contribute to reducing regional development disparities in the EU and the member states.

Ministers stressed that making the EU as a whole stronger and more resilient will only be effective if no region is left behind.

To achieve sustainable and inclusive economic recovery which supports the green and digital transitions, member states should make the best use of the opportunities provided by the massive financial package of Next Generation EU resources and the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework.

In this regard, ministers discussed the effective implementation and coordination of the remaining 2014-2020 cohesion funding, the REACT-EU initiative, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and the new 2021-2027 cohesion policy allocations, including the Just Transition Fund.

Conclusions on San Marino

Ministers also approved conclusions on the inclusion of the Republic of San Marino in the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR). This is a macro-regional strategy endorsed by the European Council in 2014 and the only strategy with new countries wanting to join it in the past few years.

The European Commission will now amend the strategy to include the Republic of San Marino and submit it to the Council. All member states participating in the EUSAIR particularly welcomed the inclusion of San Marino.

I am very pleased to welcome the Republic of San Marino in the EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region. Only with more inclusion and cooperation can the region’s interests and prospects be fully realized. From now on, 10 countries will participate in the Strategy. This is an obvious evidence of the attractiveness and deliverables of regional cooperation.

Zvonko Černač, Slovenian Minister for Development and European Cohesion Policy

Meeting information

  • Meeting n°3827
  • Brussels
  • 18 November 2021
  • 10:00

Preparatory documents

Outcome documents

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