Structural and cohesion policy
EU's cohesion policy goals must not become a hostage of economic cycles
The European Parliament today adopted a report on EU structural and investment funds (1). The report sets out the EP's position on a proposal by the European Commission to directly link EU member states' macroeconomic stability with the payment of EU Cohesion Funds. Commenting on the outcome of vote, Green spokesperson Bronis Ropė said:
"Today the European Parliament has very clearly stated that it does not want the EU's cohesion policy goals to become a hostage of economic cycles. Sound economic governance is a must for any member state. However, penalising member states for deviations from budgetary discipline, as proposed by the Commission, would be a mistake. This blunt proposal would negatively impact the beneficiaries of the EU's Cohesion Policy: first and foremost, local and regional authorities.
"The report issues a timely rebuke to the controversial macroeconomic conditionality. Suspending payments or reprogramming of Structural Funds in member states that are already experiencing economic downturns and budgetary cutbacks would be counterproductive and pro-cyclical and should only be a last resort. MEPs have called on the Commission to carefully assess all possible consequences resulting from any request to reprogramme Structural Funds and make clear parliament is prepared to fight macroeconomic conditionality."
(1) This own initiative report sets out the EP's position on the macroeconomic conditionality (MEC) which was introduced in the EU funding period 2014-2020. The EP initially rejected MEC but agreed on a compromise during the inter-institutional negotiations. MEC is the most controversial link between the Union's economic governance and Cohesion Policy.