EPP and Socialists send to-do lists to summiteers
By Isabelle Smets | Thursday 28 June 2012
The first real discussions at the European Council on the future financial framework of the EU provided an opportunity for the political groups of the European Parliament to air their concerns.
European People’s Party (EPP) MEPs from Central European countries signed a declaration reminding the heads of state of the importance of cohesion policy to implement the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy. They are concerned that the outcome of the budget negotiations could be cuts affecting this policy. “In the last ten years, it has created 2.4 million jobs in Europe. Thus, any attempts to hinder future allocations of the Cohesion Funds is against the interests of the European citizens,” they recalled
Meanwhile, the Socialists of the EP and of the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR) published a ‘Ten-point Socialist agenda on the new legislative framework for cohesion policy 2014-2020’
(2). This document, they say, “ties in with the overall call for concrete EU action on growth,” and formulates “ten key demands,” including: access of all European regions to Structural Funds and the establishment of a category for transition regions; the rejection of macroeconomic conditionality; an adequate budget of at least the same level as the one provided for the current programming period; more flexibility and simpler rules; and a stronger involvement of local and regional authorities through partnership contracts.
In the mind of Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) group of the EP, it is “a clear message for EU and national leaders: There cannot be a European growth agenda without a strong European cohesion policy, which represents the EU’s main public investment tool and a considerable levy for additional investments”.
Karl-Heinz Lambertz, the president of the Party of European Socialists (PES) group at the CoR stressed that the “time has come to respond to these expectations” (of local and regional authorities, which are suffering from the cuts). “Setting an EU growth agenda is far more than macroeconomics; it’s about financing public investments in cities and regions and giving people back hope”.
The presidents of the two groups want their ten-point programme to beome a point of reference for the vote on the European Structural Funds 2014-2020, scheduled for 11 July in the EP’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI).(1) The signatories are László Surján (Hungary), Jan Olbrycht, Danuta Hübner, Sidonia Elzbieta Jedrzejewska, Lena Kolarska Bobínska (Poland), Iosif Matula, Iuliu Winkler, Theodor Dumitru Stolojan (Romania), Peter Stastny, Miroslav Mikolásik (Slovakia), Andrey Kovatchev (Bulgaria) and Jan Brezina (Czech Republic).(2) The document is available at
www.europolitics.info > Search = 317386