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Future budget: unite around growth

EC

At the Friends of Cohesion meeting in Bratislava, President Barroso urged both the "Friends of cohesion" and the "Friends of better spending" to unite in the European Council as the Friends of Growth – sustainable growth.

The President stressed the crucial timing of this high-level meeting in a speech to the group. "In just a few weeks, a special European Council Summit will try to reach an agreement on the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework."

The President pointed out "the importance of cohesion policy as an investment in growth, people and competitiveness". He then highlighted that structural funds account for a significant proportion of public investment in Europe – more than half of all public investment in several member states. He recalled that the Commission has proposed a number of innovative ways to accelerate their disbursement where it is most needed.

"We have to build upon this momentum. I can only invite you to take a positive and pro-active approach on our proposals related to modernisation, thematic concentration, conditionality, and partnership, said the President.

Read more about EU regional policy

Read the President's statement following the Friends of Cohesion Group

Watch video from the meeting