“The European Union’s Cohesion Policy is needed more than ever as an expression of European solidarity and to overcome the damaging economic, social and territorial divides” Dr Michael Schneider, President of the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions, announced during the opening session of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2017. “We need a stronger and more effective EU cohesion policy post 2020 and that’s what this Cohesion Alliance is about” he added before calling upon the thousands of representatives from EU regions and cities to seize the momentum and join the Europe-wide movement. This was also the message of the EPP Group President during the debate that followed the first Regions and Cities’ State of the European Union address.
The EU’s Cohesion Policy is the most visible expression of EU solidarity. For nearly 30 years, it has helped to reducing disparities between regions and cities by creating millions of jobs, supported hundreds of thousands of local projects and improved the quality of lives in every town, city and region of the Union. But dividing the EU’s limited budget is more complicated given the increasing challenges that facing Europe today: from mass unemployment and digital disruption to climate change, migration and security, as well as the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
“Despite inevitable reductions after Brexit, an EU Cohesion Policy must have sufficient resources in the EU’s budget after 2020. This should be in the same proportion as today at around one-third of the overall budget” President Schneider said. “We are happy to see Commissioner Günther Oettinger’s support on this issue.”
The EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions has led the CoR’s work on developing its political vision and expertise into concrete proposals to make EU investment projects better. It was the first institution to adopt a position on the future of Cohesion Policy when its opinion, which was prepared by Michael Schneider, was adopted earlier this year.