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EU cohesion policy needs to be streamlined and review eligibility criteria


25 Mar 2009


EU Priorities 2020

In the context of the mid-term review of the multi-annual financial framework (2007-2013), the European Parliament in Strasbourg voted today on a series of reports dealing with the EU's policy to regional development, in particular in integrating the urban dimension.

"Cohesion policy makes up the principal budgetary commitment of the Union and in this electoral year it is the most visible contribution that Europe is making to the daily lives of our citizens," underlined Jean-Marie Beaupuy (MoDem, France), ALDE spokesman on regional policy committee and president of the Urban intergroup in Parliament. "But even if the successes of this policy are tangible, it still needs to be made more effective in the longer term."

"This is the sense of the concerns highlighted in today's debate in Parliament which require a speedy response. At EU level we must take action to be more effective by exploiting best practice, the urban dimension, rural development, administrative simplification etc. But ultimately, success depends on the way governments, regions and local authorities implement it," he added.

The adoption of these reports coincides with the publication of an ALDE study last week on the future of regional policy post 2013 which rejects any attempt at re-nationalisation. The ALDE is calling for a serious reform of existing legislative and financial instruments and for the Commission to study new wealth indicators apart from GDP in the determination of eligibility, such as employment levels, environmental factors, access to services etc. In this perspective a more differentiated approach should be introduced with a wider scale of co-financing than at present. ALDE also recommends, in the interests of economies of scale, to assess the advantages of merging the different European funds and including the rural development fund more fully as a regional policy instrument.