Cohesion, Regional and Urban Policy - Related Opinions
It its opinion, the EESC highlights a number of issues, two of which are: 1. During the various hearings that the EESC has held, not only for this opinion on the Outermost regions (ORs), but also for previous opinions, a strong feeling emerged that the derogations and special measures foreseen for ORs in article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union TFEU are being inadequately implemented. The EESC firmly believes that the terms of Article 349 (TFEU) need to be properly implemented in relation to certain European policies, such as competition, public procurement, fisheries and the environment, so as to take account of the ORs' specific geographical and climatic circumstances. The EESC urgently calls on the European Commission to draw up and publish an in-depth analysis of the application of the above-mentioned Article. 2. The EESC has also looked very carefully into the POSEI (Programme of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity).
The EESC has looked very carefully at the proposed Common Strategic Framework (CSF) which is now fully integrated in the draft Common Provisions Regulation and seeks to translate the objectives of the Union's Cohesion Policy into practice through better coordination between the several EU Structural Funds. The EESC has also listened carefully to the various points of view expressed by the representatives of organised civil society during a successful and well-attended hearing.
This own initiative opinion has been drafted in response to the Commission staff working document adopted on 24 April 2012 and which sets out its current thinking of what a European Code of Conduct on Partnership (ECCP) should look like during the forthcoming cohesion policy programming period. The EESC has strongly defended the need for an ECCP; in the meantime the Council has indicated that it wishes to delete all reference to an ECCP upon which the EESC President has written to the Council, Parliament and Commission arguing the need to maintain the Commission's proposals as is.
The EESC welcomes the European Commission's proposal for the Atlantic under the European Integrated Maritime Policy, but proposes a more ambitious approach; a macro-regional strategy which, in conjunction with the maritime pillar, incorporates the territorial pillar, taking account of the experiences of the Baltic Sea and Danube regions. Furthermore, the EESC recommends that in future, macro-regional policies have appropriate legislation, their own funding and the necessary administrative structures.
The Committee reiterates that the ambitious challenges facing the EU make it not only desirable but also necessary to increase the size of the EU budget so as to revitalise economic growth and employment. Furthermore, it welcomes the moves to improve and simplify the structure of the EU budget, so as to substantially deflate the issues of fair return and horizontal fairness between the Member States, focusing instead on effectively achieving Europe's strategic objectives. The EU budget should be exemplary, efficient, effective and transparent, so that it gains credibility in the eyes of the European public.