European Union cohesion funding will be shifted away from Central and Eastern Europe to countries hit harder by the financial crisis, the Financial Times reported. The plans are reportedly included in the European Commission’s draft 2021-2027 EU budget, which will be released in May.
Based on a draft policy paper seen by the FT, diplomats and officials expect a redirection of funds from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Baltic states towards southern states such as Italy, Spain, Greece and even some regions of France, Hungarian news agency MTI reported based on the FT article.
As reported by the Budapest Business Journal, Brussels wants to end the practice of distributing cohesion money on the basis of GDP per capita, shifting toward much broader criteria including youth unemployment, education, the environment, migration and innovation.
The draft policy paper seen by the FT reportedly puts the cohesion programme under a new “cohesion and values” heading. The paper observed that the changes “will be particularly worrying for Warsaw and Budapest, two big beneficiaries of cohesion funds who have clashed with Brussels over the rule of law and democratic standards.”
The report also noted that the battle over reforms will be made harder by planned cuts to overall cohesion spending, partly to help fill the Brexit-related funding gap.
The FT also reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and French President Emmanuel Macron back the idea of EU financial support to regions hosting large numbers of asylum seekers, such as Germany and Sweden.