Irish Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, today renewed the Irish Presidency’s commitment to reaching agreement with the European Parliament on the Cohesion legislative package which will set the framework for the next round of European Structural and Investment Funds.
Minister Howlin said:
“We are now approaching what I hope will be the final stage in the negotiation of the Cohesion legislative package for 2014-2020. In January I set out our objective of reaching agreement with the Parliament by the end of the Presidency. That remains the case. I have, of course, always been conscious that reaching political agreement in that timeframe would be a challenge – for both co-legislators – and I have never underestimated what is involved. Nevertheless, I am committed to working collaboratively with the Parliament on what I believe is a shared objective.”
Minister Howlin was speaking in Brussels where he delivered the key note address at a major conference organised by the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank on investing in Europe’s regions and cities. The Minister is also using his visit to Brussels to meet Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Regional Development Committee chair Danuta Hubner to discuss progress on the Cohesion talks.
The Minister said:
“In the years ahead, investment in Europe’s regions and cities will be crucial in ensuring the theme of stability, jobs and growth is sustained and developed.
“The theme of the Irish Presidency of the Council of Ministers is Stability, Jobs and Growth. Cohesion spending lies at the very heart of the growth agenda and will be one of the primary instruments available to the Union to drive investment and to promote growth and jobs in the years ahead as we strive towards meeting the Europe 2020 goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”
Noting that agreement on the Cohesion legislative package was dependent on agreement between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on the EU’s budget for 2014-2020, the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), the Minister said he was pleased that the first trilogue on the MFF between the Parliament, Council and Commission will get underway today. He said the Council remained determined to finalise these negotiations in June.
Notes to editors
The Cohesion legislative package comprises six regulations: the over-arching Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) and five sectoral regulations covering the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund, European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) and the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC). Since January the Irish Presidency has had almost 60 trilogues and technical meetings with the European Parliament on the package.
The high level conference on “Investing in Europe’s regions and cities: maximising the impact of regional and local public expenditure and the EU budget 2014-2020″ was organised by the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank.