The European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee has today voted on the Omnibus Regulations on EU funding. The Greens/EFA group helped to block a proposal originating from the European Commission that would have given Member States the ability to transfer unlimited funds from European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI) to the 'Juncker plan'. To allow this to happen would mean the end of cohesion policy as we know it, says Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur Monika Vana:
"We are very pleased to have helped save EU cohesion funding from the clutches of the Juncker plan. European structural funds have a vital role to play, delivering economic and social benefits to citizens all across the European Union. Giving Member States the ability to transfer unlimited funds away from local investment towards large-scale and frequently environmentally harmful construction projects would have been a major blow to the great number of people who feel the direct benefit of the EU's cohesion policy. Rather than becoming just another market-driven investment instrument, cohesion policy has to remain focussed on the citizens, SMEs and local authorities all across the EU who currently benefit from it."
The Regional Development Committee has exclusive competence over the part of the Omnibus related to Cohesion policy. The file will now be voted on by BUDG/CONT before going to a plenary vote and finally proceeding to negotiations with the Council of the EU.