Budget 2014-2020: European Parliament, cities and regions are fighting side by side for the people of Europe
“We want jobs and growth, we want the environment protected and we want new investment in our cities and regions”, said Flo Clucas (UK/ALDE), member of Liverpool City Council and Chair of the CoR Ad Hoc Commission on the EU budget, when commenting on the outcome of a first round of meetings with relevant stakeholders of the negotiations on the new Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) of the European Union.
Over the recent weeks Clucas has met with MEPs, such as Alain Lamassoure, Chair of the BUDG committee, and the co-rapporteurs on the MFF, Reimer Böge and Ivailo Kalfin. On the topic of EU own resources the discussions were held with EP rapporteur Anne Jensen and ambassadors and members of the permanent representations of Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands and Sweden.
“During the meeting with senior representatives of the European Parliament who are going to be a significant part of the next European budget decision making process, we agreed that we will work together as we want to see many of the same things”, said Clucas when referring the common goal of having a budget fully consistent with Europe 2020 strategy. “The governments that we have met so far”, said Clucas, “want to see the budget cut by 100 billion euros. That is bound to affect our ability to create new businesses and job opportunities as well as cut down on vital research and development work in our companies and universities. We are pleased that the CoR and the EP have been able to agree to work together on this as we know the benefits this has on European investment in our cities and regions”.
Referring to the debate on macroeconomic conditionality, Clucas noted that, “it would put local and regional authorities at risk for money they haven’t spent. That would simply be neither fair nor equitable. Regions and cities who are spending EU funds in full respect of the rules can’t be targeted with this kind of punitive measures and the structural funds must remain a factor of certainty and stability to support multi-annual development strategies”.
In the coming weeks these collaborative efforts will continue as will the ongoing meetings with national government representatives. On 3 and 4 May the CoR plenary will adopt several relevant opinions in the context of the MFF negotiations, including on cohesion policy and the Common Agricultural Policy. On 10 May the Forum on the Common Strategic Framework will gather all relevant CoR and EP rapporteurs and Chairpersons, as well as European Commissioners Andors, Ciolos and Hahn, and representatives of the Danish Presidency of the EU Council. The next meeting of the CoR Budget Ad-hoc Commission on 29 May will also see MEPs Lamassoure, Böge and Kalfin involved whilst a revision of the CoR MFF opinion is foreseen in the 2nd semester of 2012.
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