Brussels (16 November) - On Wednesday 16 November, Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatization Peter Pellegrini chaired the General Affairs Council dedicated to EU i cohesion policy.
"Growth, jobs or efforts to soothe regional disparities must remain on our priority list and what is extremely important is that the use of the European structural and investment funds should be as simple, as accessible and as understandable to citizens as possible.”
Facilitating the use of EU cohesion policy funding
Ministers welcomed the adoption by the Council on 14 November of a regulation that allows member states experiencing financial difficulties to take advantage of higher EU co-financing rates under cohesion policy. The regulation will help Cyprus, Greece and any other countries that might receive financial assistance to make easier use of EU cohesion policy funding. It does not increase the total amounts for these countries. Ministers were also informed by the Presidency of the state of play of work within the Council on a regulation simplifying the rules governing the European structural and investment (ESI) funds, the so-called omnibus regulation.
Results of and first assessment of new elements of EU cohesion policy
Ministers exchanged views on the results achieved in the years 2007-2013 and on a first assessment of new elements of cohesion policy and ESI funds in the period 2014-2020. The discussion focused on the main objectives of the policy, the measures taken to achieve them and how the results have been communicated to citizens.
“I believe it is fair to say that Cohesion policy is now at a forefront of performance-based and result-oriented approach to EU investments and it could serve as an example for other policies financed from the EU budget. Growth, jobs or efforts to soothe regional disparities must remain on our priority list and what is extremely important is that the use of the European structural and investment funds should be as simple, as accessible and as understandable to citizens as possible,” said Slovak Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatization and President of the Council Peter Pellegrini.
The Council also adopted conclusions setting out the positive impact that the cohesion policy had in terms of stimulating growth and creating jobs. The conclusions also contain a first assessment of a number of new elements that have been introduced into EU cohesion policy for the period 2014-2020. These includes specific issues such as the so-called ex-ante conditionalities, that introduces a number of conditions which must be in place before the funds are disbursed, as well as macro-economic conditionality, which ensures that the effectiveness of the five ESI funds is not undermined by unsound macro-economic policies.
Press conference following the GAC Cohesion Council