CEEP Opinion on the Reflection Paper on the Future of EU Finances - PDF

Executive summary

  • Overall, CEEP agrees with the European Commission’s (EC) assessment that at a time when Europe must decide on its future, the EU needs a budget that is fit for purpose and makes every euro work for its citizens. The EU should look for greater synergies between EU funds, national public funds and private money in order to face the major challenges that lay ahead (the ecological, digital, demographic transitions).
  • On cohesion policy: CEEP strongly opposes any of the white paper’s scenarios which would scale down the EU’s efforts in relation to cohesion policy. Consequently, CEEP invites the Commission, on the contrary, to present a comprehensive legislative proposal for a strong and effective post-2020 cohesion policy.
  • On flexibility: CEEP agrees with the EC assessment that the EU should be able to react effectively and quickly to unforeseen events such as the current migration challenge. Increasing the flexibility should be done in a way that does not harm the function of the budget.
  • On the link with the EU Semester: CEEP strongly supports the reinforcement of the link between the European cohesion policy and the European Semester to encourage and to better support structural reforms.
  • On defining a European added value as a criterion for EU funds: CEEP agrees that European added value should become one of the key criteria for the successful use of EU funds and thus also for the success of cohesion policy. This criterion should be exactly defined from the beginning.
  • On financial instruments: In the context of fiscal austerity and of a growing pressure to maintain or even reduce the EU budget, a well-programmed and efficient multiannual financial framework is crucially important. In this respect, financial instruments are particularly well suited to address financially viable projects that have potential to generate returns.
  • On administrative barriers: CEEP urges the EC to address the need to reduce the administrative burden for beneficiaries. The EU budget is pressured by the need to be more efficient, really based on simplification, to focus on the areas where its impact is greatest and to ensure that burdensome rules and procedures do not hinder the achievement of its goals.
  • On communication: The increased visibility of the EU action is vital to fight Euroscepticism and can contribute to regaining citizens’ confidence and trust. CEEP highlights that a greater focus must be placed on the content and results of programmes in order to improve the visibility of EU action.
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