EP adopted the legislative package on cohesion policy

EP adopted the legislative package on cohesion policy

2013. 11. 20.

MEP Csaba Őry, EPP Group Coordinator of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee welcomed the agreement on the new regulation of the European Social Fund (ESF) as it is one of the most important funds of the European Union. In this respect MEP Őry disagreed with the left-wing and green MEPs who wanted to reopen the dossier and the negotiations as a whole, because this agreement is a result of a long and complex negotiating process between the EU institutions. “We need a final compromise on the new ESF rules, especially in light of the still worrying unemployment rates” – highlighted MEP Őry.

One of the biggest achievements of the negotiations is that 20% of the ESF will be allocated for the fight against poverty in the future. In addition, via the Youth Employment Initiative and the Youth Guarantee young people can be supported from the Fund up to the age of 30 as well. ”I also welcome the agreed 23,1% to be allocated for the ESF from the Cohesion Funds as this represents a 1% rise compared to previous amounts and can be voluntarily supplemented by the Member States later on” – added the EPP Group Coordinator.

MEP Ádám Kósa, President of Disability Intergroup pointed out that the one and a half year's work (by holding 90 meetings on the subject) eventually succeed because the new regulation will definitely have improved rules in terms of employment, social and equal opportunity affairs while using European financial sources as of 2014. Kósa underlined: Until now, there was only one reference on the accessibility of people with disabilities but in the new legislation we will have more than 10 concrete and strong obligations for the EU institutions as well as Member States to follow in the case of people with disabilities in particular. "Hungary evidently performs better, because many of its programmes and initiatives adopted in the past years are to be copied and realised also at EU level with additional financial supports from the EU in the future. This success is not mine tough, but that of all the people with disabilities" – added the EPP Group MEP.

MEP Kósa, who was member of the EP negotiation team representing the Committee of Employment and Social Affairs referred to the empowered requirements of full accessibility; further support for Roma community based on the Roma Strategy adopted during the Hungarian Presidency; helping the process of deinstitutionalisation of large institutions for disabled people within the framework of the transition from institutional to community-based services; strengthening the role of civil society in programming and implementation process as well as further and additional support for the youth in employment.

MEP Tamás Deutsch, member of the Committee on Regional Developments underlined that the post-2014 Cohesion Policy places more emphasis on result-orientedness and therefore closely links cohesion policy to the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Tamás Deutsch welcomed the fact that many of his amendments were included in the adopted text, including provisions on increasing transferability of funds between categories of regions; maintaining current co-financing rates; giving more attention to the needs of the people with disabilities; supporting energy efficiency and renewable energies in the housing sector and the eligibility of non-recoverable value added tax for support.

"The 2,35% general level of capping (the maximum level of cohesion allocation to Member States) will be modified to 2,59% in the case of Hungary which will significantly increase the country's financial envelope in comparison to the Commission's original proposal" – pointed out MEP Deutsch.

MEP Deutsch regretted that macro-economic conditionality could not be deleted from the text in the course of the inter-institutional negotiations. "Extending macro-conditions to other funds apart from the Cohesion Fund raises serious concerns as it punishes the final beneficiaries – local governments, enterprises and citizens – for economic measures taken by the central government, and thus further exacerbates the economic situation of the Member State in question" – warned the EPP Group MEP.