Strasbourg (F), 12 February 2013
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) regrets the historical reduction in the European Union budget, following the agreement reached between European leaders on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.
The EU should come together to overcome the crisis: limiting its own means of action, which remain a mere drop in the budgets of the Member States, is the mark of a lack of confidence in the future of Europe.
"The Regions of Europe deeply regret the severe cut (-8.5%) made to the cohesion policy", emphasised Michèle SABBAN, AER President. This cut will have a direct impact on the territories to which European funds bring a breath of fresh air, allowing them to successfully carry out economic and social actions that could not have been implemented otherwise.
• Structural Funds are an investment in regions and the future: their leverage effect is undeniable. They help boost employment over the long term, thanks to the European Social Fund measures.
• Structural funds provide critical support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to innovation and research infrastructures.
• Structural Funds are the most visible sign of benefits of EU action on citizens and economic and social development of regions.
Cohesion Policy is, first and foremost, a solidarity instrument, not only between countries but most importantly between European regions - solidarity that is now being seriously compromised through this budget.
"Cohesion policy is the armed wing of growth policy at European level. However, the European Council has chosen through this agreement not to strengthen, but to remove it!" Said the President of the Assembly of European Regions.
"The regions will know how to compensate for the lack of ambition of the European Union, however, it will be increasingly difficult for Europe to implement the Europe 2020 strategy if it does not provide itself with the means to do so," concluded Michèle SABBAN, AER President.
AER supports the European Parliament in assuming its responsibilities and giving the EU a budget in line with the challenges that lie ahead.
Michèle SABBAN will hold discussions with Mr HAHN, Commissioner for Regional Policy, on Wednesday and with several MEPs in the coming weeks so that budget priorities will be rechanneled towards regions.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER – aer.eu) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 250 regions from 35 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
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