FAST-CARE

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stanovisko EHSV: FAST-CARE

Key points

The EESC:

  • Warmly welcomes this new comprehensive package that extends the support already provided under CARE by providing further support and further flexibility within cohesion policy funding.
  • Recognizes that the direct and indirect effects of the unprovoked invasion on 24 February have led to a continuing increase in the number of refugees arriving in all Member States, but in particular at the EU's borders, and that further action is therefore required. It considers that FAST-CARE provides a response to these circumstances by offering additional funding for the migratory challenges resulting from the military aggression by Russia, but also by helping to mitigate the delayed implementation of projects due to the combined effects of COVID-19 and the high energy costs and shortage of raw materials and labour caused by the war.
  • Has continuously stressed the need for an immediate and effective response through all means possible. The continued efforts to ensure flexibility for the funding should ensure the most efficient implementation of cohesion policy investments under the 2014-2020 MFF and also ensure a smooth start for the 2021-2027 programs. It welcomes the temporary possibility of 100% co-financing from the EU budget for the implementation of cohesion policy programs.
  • Strongly welcomes the Commission's recognition of the heavy burden that has fallen on local authorities and civil society organisations operating in local communities in addressing the migratory challenges resulting from Russia's military aggression. It welcomes the provision that a minimum level of support of 30% within the relevant priorities should be set aside for local authorities, social partners and civil society organisations.
  • Believes that NGOs and the social partners have a crucial role to play, both as implementing organisations and as valuable partners in monitoring the implementation of such programmes, and the EESC is open to facilitating a further conversation about such engagement for civil society organisations and social partners either in the EU or in Ukraine. Civil society has proven its effectiveness in delivering an immediate response during the first stages of the war.
  • Welcomes the Commission's proposal to exempt Member States from the need to comply with thematic concentration requirements for the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework, allowing them the possibility to redirect funds between thematic objectives within the same priority of the same Fund and category of region, given the rapidly evolving changes in the situation on the ground.
  • Takes note of the mix of comprehensive measures that take into account the needs at micro/individual level as well as the needs at macro/Member State level.
  • Urges the Commission to work with Member States, local authorities, and civil society to eliminate all possible unnecessary administrative burdens, while offering full transparency with regard to the allocation and execution of measures to tackle the consequences of the war in Ukraine. It also stresses the need to more actively involve civil society and the social partners.
  • Acknowledges that all possible measures should be taken under the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). In this context, the Committee agrees with the Commission's intention to amend the MFF Regulation so that the remaining 2014-2020 resources are optimised and allow a smooth transition to the 2021-2027 program.