Op woensdag 8 november heb ik tijdens de hoorzitting van de EVP het zevende Cohesie rapport besproken.
Het rapport mist een duidelijke evaluatie van de impact van EU-onderzoeks- en cohesie-instrumenten. Het verslag onderschat de synergiën met het onderzoeksprogramma Horizon2020. Anderzijds ligt de uitgave van de cohesiefondsen achter op schema. Het is nu tijd om de balans op te maken. Europe heeft geen bouwstenen meer nodig, maar een geheel nieuw gebouw.
In het eerste deel van 2018 zal Bulgarije het voorzitterschap van de Raad op zich nemen. Minister Pavlova sprak zich uit voor een sterk cohesie-beleid: 'Unity in cohesion'.
Ook heeft Gunther Oettinger, Europese Commissaris voor Budget, onlangs uitgesproken dat er niet teveel bezuinigd moet worden op cohesie-beleid:
' On Thursday 23 November, the Commissioner for the Budget, Gunther Oettinger, informed MEPs at the regional development committee that a 30% reduction would be very damaging to cohesion policy but that a 10% reduction could be envisaged.On an internal basis, the European Commission is assessing the impact of several budget scenarios that range from some sort of status quo to a 30% reduction, including a 15% “reference scenario” (see EUROPE 11901). This reference scenario appears to be the most likely and the Commissioner appeared to confirm this by basically saying that a 10% reduction could be envisaged and was sustainable.
Mr Oettinger said that anyone promising a budget increase would not be able to keep this promise due to Brexit and the number of new missions in the European Union. He considers it necessary to make what he calls “surgical budget cuts” that will, if he is to be believed, have no impact on cohesion policy.
In this regard, the Commissioner singled out a number of member states such as Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Austria and Germany – the member state he is from – for criticism, due to their intention to reduce their contributions to the European Union in the next multiannual financial framework to 1% of Gross National Income. He believes that a contribution at this threshold would make meeting both the old and new European Union targets impossible. The Commissioner expressed his wish on several occasions that these member states make a commitment to increasing their contribution to the next multiannual financial framework by “just a little bit”. The Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu, had already referred on several occasions to a budget increase of 1.2% of Gross National Income from member states (see EUROPE 11905).
Mr Oettinger said that he wanted to complete negotiations for the next budget by May 2019 at the latest. He considers it of the utmost importance to reach an agreement as soon as possible and not in December 2020, in an effort to avoid losing a whole year.At the end of his speech, the Commissioner indicated that he wanted to meet MEPs again in February 2018.'