Commissioner Ferreira: EC's proposal for cohesion policy adequate

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04.02.2020.

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa (R) and Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic hold a joint press conference at the
CARLOS COSTA / AFP

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa (R) and Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic hold a joint press conference at the "Friends of Cohesion" summit at the Pousada Convento in Beja, Portugal

The European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, has said that the European Commission will not change its proposal on budget funding for the cohesion policy in the 2021-2027 period and hopes that negotiations on the multiannual budget will be finalised during Croatia's presidency of the Council of EU.

Croatia holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020, and Germany assumes the chairmanship on 1 July.

"We have good expectations of the Croatian presidency. I hope that negotiations on the budget will be completed before the end of this presidency and in an appropriate manner," Ferreira has said in an interview with Hina after the Forum of Cities was organised by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy in Porto on 30-31 January.

The 4th edition of the Cities Forum 2020 was held under the slogan "Together we shape a sustainable urban future", bringing together about 800 representatives of cities and EU member states.

Also in Portugal, the Friends of Cohesion held a summit meeting in the city of Beja on Saturday in an effort to ensure that the next EU budget keeps adequate funds for cohesion policy.

The cohesion policy budget might be reduced by 10% in comparison to the 2014-2020 period, as a result of which Croatia might receive 6% less for the next seven year period.

“Cohesion policy funding for 2021-2027 should maintain the level of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework in real terms. No member state should suffer a sharp and disproportionate reduction in its cohesion budget,” reads the final declaration of the Friends of Cohesion.

The Beja summit Joint Declaration was signed by 15 of the 17 “Friends of Cohesion”: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Croatia did not sign the Declarations, because due to EU presidency, Zagreb is carring out the role of an honest broker.

“Co-financing should remain at current rates; pre-financing should remain at sufficiently high levels and no abrupt change should be made to the cancellation rule,” they added, saying those principles “ensure an efficient and effective use of cohesion funds without putting an extra burden on national budgets”.

Read the entire Joint Declaration here.

Commissioner Ferreira has suggested that the Friends of Cohesion countries should stick together and should use EU funding in a more efficient manner.

"The cohesion policy is old and Europe cannot function without it," she added.

However, citizens are interested in how the money is used, so it is necessary to closely analyse the projects it is spent on. Let the governments show where this money goes and thus show the need for solidarity within the EU, the commissioners said.

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