The future of the EU’s Cohesion Policy beyond 2020 must be decided through a transparent debate based on concrete arguments and realistic assessments. It is not an exaggeration if I say that this debate is an essential part of the wider debate on the future of the EU. The European construction is based on solidarity, and an EU that lacks cohesion is an EU without a future.
Effective implementation of the Cohesion Policy is a precondition for the success of the Europe 2020 strategy. Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth is the EU’s response to its challenges ahead.
A reduction in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI), with the alternative of using the European Fund for Strategic Investments (the Juncker Plan) is not an acceptable solution, as only the Cohesion Funds ensure a fair and balanced territorial distribution that takes into account the degree of development of the regions involved.
Grants offered under the Cohesion Policy address the issue of regional structural disparities and enable the EU to maintain a balanced regional financing policy. Unfortunately, the danger lies both on the future of the Cohesion Policy after 2020 and on the implementation of these policies starting in 2019, the probable ‘Brexit’ year.
The European Parliament must express its clear and strong support for maintaining the Cohesion Policy as a cornerstone of European solidarity as well as the Union’s future.
Written Statement, Join debate – EU cohesion policy