COVID-19: Amendments to the CPR, ERDF and Cohesion Fund

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Udvalgets udtalelse: COVID-19: Amendments to the CPR, ERDF and Cohesion Fund

Key points:

The EESC

  • Fully supports the initiative of the Commission to use the EU budget to mobilise investment and offer financial support during the post-COVID-19 recovery.
  • Considers that certain amendments to the CPR proposal are absolutely necessary and salutes the intention to add simplification and flexibility for the seven shared management funds.
  • Considers that the proposed flexibilities are the right approach in a complicated economic and social situation and shall allow Member States to use the available funds where they are most needed. The post-COVID-19 recovery should follow sustainable principles and a correlation of efforts between the ERDF, Cohesion Funds and other European programs.
  • On the other hand, is dissatisfied with disparities on how different Member States include and involve the social partners and civil society organisations in the preparation of Partnership Agreements and in the setting up and implementing of programmes, as well as within the monitoring committees.
  • Considers that special attention must be given to the regions severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis and which face the most difficulties to resume sustained economic recovery. Social inclusion and reducing disparities both between Member States and between different regions are and should be the top priority of Cohesion Funds.
  • Agrees that extended timeline flexibility is absolutely necessary and supports the proposal that the transfers could be done at the beginning of the programming period or at any other point during the implementation phase.
  • Furthermore, ensuring temporary measures to enable the use of the Funds in exceptional circumstances will increase trust and correct imbalances in the economy. Expected high public debt shall have an important impact on the economy, if not efficiently supported by all necessary means.
  • Believes that it is imperative that the EU budget is allowed to be more flexible when dealing with adverse shocks, especially those that are not economic in origin.
  • Recommends that the EU should pursue policies for improving trans-border cooperation in times of crisis. Better protocols and enhanced collaboration would allow for a streamlined and prompt European response to any kind of catastrophe.