Regions call for ambitious EU budget, Cohesion policy, better cooperation

CPMR 47th General Assembly [Sofia Elanidou/ EURACTIV]

The Conference of Peripheral Maritime regions (CPMR) was set to adopt a Manifesto on the future of the EU negotiations on Friday (18 October) calling for more support to Europe’s regions, an ambitious budget supporting a sustainable economic agenda and no cuts in the Cohesion policy.

Among the key points of the Manifesto, which will be adopted later on Friday (18 October), will be the need for a Europe that enables regions as key contributors to the democratic legitimacy of the European project, supported by an ambitious EU budget.

A long term strategy for a balanced territorial development, which will take into consideration the diversity of the territories and promote carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest, is considered by CPMR as a necessary step, along with maintaining the Cohesion policy as the EU’s main investment policy.

“Regions, as key political organisations at a territorial level, are and must be considered as key players by the European Institutions, to help implement European policies and to achieve the European goals,” CPMR’s President Vasco Cordeiro, who is also the president of the government of the Azores, told EURACTIV.

“It is very important that this approach be made based on solidarity, a key element and a key issue in the European project… Solidarity among regions, institutions, and member states is the key cement that keeps us together”, Cordeiro said.

Eleni Marianou, CPMR’s secretary-general, added that “we cannot have an ambitious European project, an ambitious territorial, social and economic Cohesion, without really voting and proposing an ambitious budget”,

Among the CPMR’s priorities, she listed cohesion, accessibility, migration and the role of regions, integration, poverty and climate change. “We want to address the newly-elected MEPs and the new European Commission,” she said.

The CPMR manifesto will stress the need to prioritise sustainable blue growth and smart specialisation, with a special focus on marine renewable energies, maritime industries, aquaculture, and fisheries.

Furthermore, it will call for a strong ambition on sustainable maritime transport and Motorways of the Sea, as key elements in the approach of carbon neutrality, but also for more support into making aviation greener.

On migration, the Manifesto will call for policies to acknowledge the role regions can play and provide adequate financial mechanisms based on the needs of the territories, especially those at the external border of the EU.

Migration, integration of migrants and development should be better linked and aligned with the respect of human rights and international law.

CPMR regions call for an ambitious EU

Earlier on Friday, CPMR issued a statement in relation to the EU budget negotiations in Brussels, urging the European Council to step up efforts to have a more ambitious Union.

In its statement, CPMR called for a more ambitious budget and restated “its support to the European Parliament position for a Multiannual Financial Framework based on member states contributions fixed at 1.3% of their Gross National Income (GNI) and the introduction of new own resources”.

CPMR urged the Council to put Cohesion in a central position in the European project, because Cohesion should not be “the “‘sacrificial lamb’ of EU budget negotiations”.

“We are very concerned about the proposals of the Finnish Presidency to actually have cuts on Cohesion Policy, and this is why we voted unanimously on the statement we have already sent this morning to the heads of state meeting in Brussels,” Marianou told EURACTIV.

CPMR insists that European Territorial Cooperation budget should represent at least 3.5% of the overall Cohesion Policy funding, and wants the Council to “stick to its position regarding the architecture of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) to guarantee maritime cross-border cooperation programmes and to avoid disruption regarding programme scope and geography for post-2020 programmes”.

Croatian presidency wants a deal on Cohesion

Addressing CPMR’s 47th General Assembly in Palermo, Sicily, on Thursday, Tajana Huzak, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds for Croatia, highlighted that reaching a deal on Cohesion is essential for a smooth transition to the next phase and promised that the Croatian presidency next year will focus on cohesion rules.

Huzak added that islands cannot be treated in the same way as the mainland, and that energy transition in islands should start as soon as possible.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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