In a speech to a session in Beja, Portugal, of the Friends of Cohesion Group, Romania's Prime Minister Ludovic Orban reiterated Romania's support for reaching a political agreement on the future European budget as soon as possible, which will allow the next programmes and projects conducted on European funding to be started in time.
The summit was hosted by Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa on Saturday. It was attended by heads of state or government and ministers from the member states of the Group, as well as the European commissioners responsible for budget and cohesion policy.
In his speech, Orban underscored the importance of agreeing on an ambitious budget able to provide the union with the resources necessary to achieve the objectives reflected in its strategic agenda, that at the same time is realistic in terms of the need to ensure a balance between growth and convergence objectives and the response to new challenges at European level. At the same time, he reiterated Romania's support for reaching a political agreement on the future European budget as soon as possible, which will allow the next European funded programmes and projects to be started in a timely manner, according to a governmental press statement released on Sunday.
Orban mentioned the unquestionable contribution of cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy to the process of bridging development gaps and achieving a level playing field for all the member states, so as to create the premises of a more competitive union, a Union that can achieve its newly-established climate change goals.
He referred to the need to preserve cohesion policy as the main instrument for promoting investments at Europewide that should receive adequate funding.
In addition to the level of allocations, he pointed out that the future agreement must contain provisions that allow for a higher level of flexibility at the level of the member states in the programming and implementation of projects.
Orban also underscored that cohesion policy must be able to provide the most efficient response to the needs of the member states and regions, and an increased level of flexibility in terms of thematic concentration, as well as the establishment of certain more favorable implementation conditions that would allow them to take full advantage of the investment opportunities under the cohesion policy.
In his speech, he also referenced the part played by the cohesion policy in supporting the objectives of the transition towards carbon neutrality, highlighting, in context, the need for the resources proposed to support the member states in the transition process under the Just Transition Fund to be complementary to the allocations for the cohesion policy and not affect the achievement of the objectives of bridging the development gaps pursued by this policy, according to the Romanian government.
*** The main objective of the meeting in Portugal was to co-ordinate the cohesion friendly member states at the future stages of the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027. The approach is all the more relevant ahead of an extraordinary European Council meeting to be held in Brussels on February 20.
In their messages, the participating states conveyed the importance and the priority part that cohesion policy must play in the future Multiannual Financial Framework, as a policy designed to support economic and social convergence throughout the union. At the same time, they underlined the importance of the unity of the Friends of Cohesion Group in order to materialise this objective in the final stage of the negotiations on the future Multiannual Financial Framework.
The participating states have adopted a political statement that conveys a strong commitment to support an ambitious budget capable of securing the union's long-term priorities and promoting convergence among member states, while maintaining the central role of the cohesion policy.
At the same time, the statement emphasises the fundamental role and potential of adjusting the traditional European policies, the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy, amidst constantly changing challenges, such as climate change, demographic changes, orientation towards innovation, the need to create jobs and jobs and improve employment.
In their joint statement, the signatory member states sound the alarm over the proposals to cut funding for the cohesion policy in the future Multiannual Financial Framework. At the same time, the document underlines the importance of flexible and adequate implementation conditions for the specifics of the beneficiaries, which contribute decisively to an increase in the performance of the cohesion policy, especially at the level of the most underdeveloped regions.
The signatory states also argue that the financial envelope for the cohesion policy in the future Multiannual Financial Framework should not be affected by the advanced solutions for financing measures aimed at achieving carbon neutrality, such as the Fair Transition Fund.