Solidarity in Europe needs financial commitment after 2020
PES ministers in charge of cohesion policy have called for an appropriate level of investment following the Commission’s draft seven-year budget, which includes proposed cuts to cohesion funding after 2020.
Following their meeting on 12 April in Luxembourg, PES ministers adopted a joint declaration today reiterating that cohesion policy must remain the clearest expression of EU solidarity -- and a priority in terms of financial means.
Chairing the meeting, Minister Pedro Marques from Portugal said:
"Cohesion policy is working and delivering results. From 2007 to 2013, it created a million jobs and had an economic return of 3 euros for every euro spent.
"But, beyond these figures, many people are connected to water, broadband and transport infrastructures thanks to cohesion policy; they can go to school or to hospital only because of cohesion policy. This is the best investment policy in Europe. It must remain available to all European regions, and it must be secured beyond 2020."
PES president Sergei Stanishev agreed:
"In the next seven years we must increase Europe's integration, solidarity and fairness. Nobody should be left behind in either rural or urban areas. Cohesion policy is one of our best tools to bridge inequalities, so I hope that the upcoming negotiations on the EU budget will focus on strengthening those funds.
"Cohesion policy must retain the necessary means to attain its objectives. Europe's job is to bring about convergence, not further divergence. Our best investment policy must remain ambitious beyond 2020."
Present at the meeting on 12 April were:
Pedro Marques, Acting Chair, Minister of Planning and Infrastructure, Portugal
Corina Crețu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, European Commission
Claudio De Vincenti, Minister responsible for Territorial Cohesion and Southern Italy, Italy
Aaron Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue, Malta
Rovana Plumb, Minister for European Funds, Romania
Christophe Rouillon, Vice President, PES group in the Committee of the Regions
Isabelle Thomas, Vice-President, S&D group in the European Parliament
Constanze Krehl, S&D coordinator in the Committee on Regional Development, S&D group in the European Parliament