Regional Development MEPs urge the European Commission to boost cohesion funding within the upcoming long-term budget, to ensure swift recovery of EU regions.

During its extraordinary meeting held via videoconference on Monday, the Regional Development Committee debated with Commission Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People Valdis Dombrovskis and Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira on the place of cohesion policy in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

The European Parliament adopted the first Corona Response Investment Initiative (CRII) on 26 March and the second package of measures under CRII+ on 17 April. MEPS also adopted a resolution calling for a massive recovery and reconstruction package, financed by an increased long-term budget. The European Commission is expected to present an updated Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) in the coming days.

MEPs also quizzed the Commissioners on the adoption of 2021 transitional measures for cohesion policy, the role of SMEs, rule of law conditionality, as well as the status of the Green Deal and Just Transition Fund.

Vice-President Dombrovskis replied that the next MFF needs to boost cohesion policy among key pillars. Commissioner Ferreira added that the EU has so far been sprinting, by urgently mobilising all available means, but it must now prepare for the recovery marathon, powered by cohesion and convergence.

EP Regional Development Committee Chair, Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL, FR) said: “The Commission, Council and Parliament have already accomplished very important and urgent work to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Cohesion policy is needed more than ever to power the recovery. We need to be bold and proactive in the upcoming MFF – we need a large, ambitious budget to reinforce major EU policies”.