Five weeks ahead of the European elections of 26 May, the European Parliament held its final plenary session from 15 April to 18 April and thus concluded its activities for this eighth legislature. On top of the list is the so-called InvestEU programme – a key element of EU policies for the short- and long-term future. InvestEU builds on the success of EFSI, more well-known as the “Juncker Plan”. CEEP endorses the new programme’s architecture and particularly its policy focus on funding sustainable infrastructure, innovation and digitalisation or the development of social investment and skills. This result, in some respect, mirrors the priorities and input of the High Level task Force on Investing in Infrastructures (to which CEEP contributed), as expressed in its final report “Boosting Investment in social infrastructure in Europe”. However, CEEP warns, InvestEU should at all cost avoid certain shortcomings from the Juncker Plan, e.g. in closing the persistent investment gap in Europe, as mentioned in the European Court of Auditors’ own and very recent concluding report.
InvestEU is but one of many important texts recently adopted by the European co-legislating body, several being highly relevant to the ongoing budgetary (“MFF 2021-2027”) negotiations: the so-called ESF+ on 4 April or the “Common Provisions“ Regulation on 27 March… The latter is particularly important in defining functioning rules for almost every EU public policy relevant to Cohesion Policy. For the European Parliament to take a clear stance on such an important issue only a few weeks before EU ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy gather informally is a welcomed signal : no time can be wasted. The European Parliament is moving in the right direction during this legislature’s final phase, taking over several principle keys to the ambitious Cohesion Policy that CEEP has been advocating for several years (cf. here and here). This is also the result of efforts from the Committee of the Regions’ “Cohesion Alliance”, which CEEP joined. It is now up to the European Council and the next political majority to swiftly act in concluding negotiations as soon as possible after the European elections of May 2019.
Please get in touch with Alexis Le Coutour, CEEP Policy Officer on Public Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) should you have any questions on this subject.