REACT-EU - Related Opinions
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EESC believes that there is a need to have a clear and structured view of which funds are targeted to tackle climate change and how they are managed. With an approved budget of over EUR 330 billion in the current programming period, cohesion policy is the largest and most important investment tool in Europe. As 30% of both the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will need to be spent on projects for decarbonising our economy, cohesion policy has a crucial role in tackling climate change. Moreover, funds will also be made available under NGEU, as the green transition is one of the main targets of recovery and resilience after COVID-19.
The Commission intends to renew its strategic partnership with the outermost regions, adapting it to the EU priorities on green and digital transition for a stronger recovery after the coronavirus pandemic. The new Communication is expected to be published in April 2022. In this context, the forthcoming French EU Presidency, aims to conclude together with the other EU Member States this new strategic approach to the outermost regions for a green, digital and fair recovery. More specifically, the Presidency plans to adopt Council conclusions on outermost regions that are going to be presented in the GAC (General Affairs Council) on June 2022. The French Presidency asks the contribution of civil society organisations on the new priorities for the strategic approach and partnership with these regions.
Member States prepared their recovery and resilience plans that set out a coherent package of reforms and public investment projects. To benefit from the support of the Facility, these reforms and investments should be implemented by 2026.
Tuairim ó CESE: The role of cohesion policy in combatting inequalities in the new programming period after the COVID-19 crisis. Complementarities and possible overlaps with the RRF and the national recovery plans (Own-initiative opinion)
This opinion seeks to analyse the impact of the emergency measures aimed at limiting unemployment, supporting income and helping businesses, with a particular focus on the SURE instrument. The EESC considers SURE as a positive and innovative financial instrument which delivers on European solidarity to preserve jobs, provide income support to workers and support businesses, as well as a tool for integration and socio-economic resilience in the EU. It is proposed that a SURE observatory is set up for as long as the financial instrument is in operation, involving the social partners and other civil society organisations. The EESC also fully acknowledges the positive results of SURE highlighted in the Commission's report of March 2021 and endorses the proposal for its stabilisation in support of workers and businesses as a tool for the EU's integration and socio-economic resilience in times of crisis such as the current one.
The objective of this proposal is to provide an update of EESC's positions related to the cohesion package presented by the Commission on May 2018. While the discussions in the Council and the Parliament are still ongoing, this opinion will reflect better the developments in view of a successful cohesion policy in the post-2020 period.
The Romanian presidency who has asked for this opinion proposes that the conclusions drawn in this opinion could stimulate the informal ministerial debate of the cohesion ministers to be held in April 2019.
The EESC considers the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) as pivotal factors to achieve sustainable development in the EU and therefore strongly regrets the cut of 12% in the ERDF and 46% in the CF.
The EESC strongly rejects the Commission's proposal to cut the EU's budget by 10% in real terms and urges the Member States (MS) to find solutions that allow this budget to be kept at the same level as the 2014-2020 programming period.
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