17 December 2013
The European Conservatives and Reformists take a realistic view of the EU’s structural and investment funds.
MAIN ECR PRIORITIES
The European Conservatives and Reformists take a realistic view of the EU’s structural and investment funds. Given the fact that Cohesion policy is embedded in the Treaties, we believe that it should primarily complement national public finances and support job creation, competitiveness and economic growth. Moreover, regional policy should in no way distort the European single market.
There are significant economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist between the EU’s member states. We wish to ensure that Cohesion policy does not neglect its core purpose of building economic capacity and infrastructure in poorer regions. In this context, we stress that appropriate attention should be paid to those regions which require major structural reforms in order to approach EU standards in quality public services and infrastructure.
We strongly advocate an enhanced role for local and regional governments so that they can take ownership of the goals and results of Cohesion policy. Moreover, we stress the importance of results, transparency and simpler rules for the 2014-2020 Cohesion policy. In terms of budget, we believe that any EU budgetary savings should not undermine Cohesion policy in the “new” EU member states after the post-2004 enlargement. However, we do believe that the era of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to Cohesion policy has long passed, and that the EU should look at new ways to ensure Cohesion funding is targeted where it is most needed in the EU.
Provided the guiding principle of the “3 No’s” of no new EU funds, no additional EU-level structures and no new EU legislation as agreed by the Council, we could potentially see a case for the development and establishment of macro-regional strategies. In this regard, we believe that the EU could, for example, investigate the case for an integrated policy for mountainous areas
A key ECR focus will also be on the challenges of effective absorption and use of EU funding. Capacity to administer EU funding remains an issue of concern for the new member states. Without a strong administrative capacity, these countries will risk not only losing the direct benefits of the funds from the previous financial period but also will not be sufficiently prepared for the new Cohesion policy. Instability in the civil service, and weak financial auditing and management structures for the funds represent risks for the successful implementation of the EU funds in the new Member States, and constitute a threat to effective policy management overall.
ECR Members of the REGI Committee:
– Andrew LEWER MEP (UK), ECR Coordinator
– Ruža TOMAŠIĆ MEP (HR), ECR Deputy Coordinator
– Mirosław PIOTROWSKI MEP (PL)
– Edward CZESAK (PL)
– James NICHOLSON MEP (UK),
– Tomasz Piotr PORĘBA MEP (PL),
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