Statement from EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn: on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 after the European Council
(11 February 2013)
I know these have been difficult talks, so I am relieved that we have an agreement from the European Council on the EU budget for 2014-2020. Subject to the European Parliament's consent, we can continue our preparations for the next programming period for Cohesion Policy without any more delay. This is about getting EU investments to where they can do most good- creating jobs and helping Europe's recovery. It is about giving investors certainty about where private funds can also bolster our efforts.
The Commission's original proposal would have been a better deal for Europe. There is no doubt that as it stands it will be harder to finance all the EU priorities that we laid out in our proposals.
The budget for Cohesion Policy has been cut compared to the original Commission proposal but the € 325 billion for seven years will still support a modernised policy: more effective, more transparent, more European, and at the heart of the Europe 2020 growth and competitiveness agenda. Cohesion policy is the EU's main investment tool for delivering the goals of Europe 2020 and I am committed to achieving them. This deal also confirms the key elements of further reform to make the policy even more focused and efficient. Importantly, by accepting our new category of "transition regions" and the principle of providing funds for more developed regions as well, the agreement recognises that investments for growth and creating jobs are needed in all the regions of the EU.
However, despite a demand for "better spending", some provisions in this deal risk delaying much needed investments for growth on the ground.
I will do all that I can to safeguard a new cohesion policy that looks to the future : creating jobs and investing in innovation, research, small and medium sized businesses and the low carbon economy. I count on the European Parliament to do the same, by defending a budget to meet today's challenges and to support our further reforms of EU cohesion policy so every euro spent counts for new jobs in Europe's regions.