The Regional Development Committee questioned Elisa Ferreira, candidate for the Cohesion and Reforms portfolio.

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Portuguese Commissioner-designate Ferreira.

No region will be left behind

During her introductory speech, Ms Ferreira mentioned that cohesion policy must be at the top of the EU agenda, and pledged for more coherence between EU policies. She said that structural reforms and cohesion must strengthen each other. She underlined her willingness to build a tailored cohesion policy for all regions, from outermost to mountainous and coal regions. Her motto will be “no region will be left behind”. She added that cohesion policy spending should be strongly linked to the European green deal and digital objectives. She also engaged in building a special and strong partnership with the Regional Development Committee throughout her mandate.

MEPs put forward several questions on how she plans to defend a strong budget for cohesion in the next MFF, reduce territorial disparities and simplify and accelerate the implementation of cohesion policy. Several questions also referred to the role of cohesion policy in tackling climate change in order to achieve a zero carbon economy, and to the proposed “Just Transition Fund” meant to support regions most affected by the transition to a green economy. Members also questioned the Commissioner-designate on the macro-economic and rule of law conditionality.

The hearing was chaired by Younous Omarjee. Members from the associated Committees (Budget and Economic & Monetary Affairs) also participated in the hearing.

Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.