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Structural Funds - 01.07.2005
Future of structural Funds package: CEMR supports Hatzidakis and Fava reports
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) calls on MEPs to adopt the Hatzidakis and Fava reports, at their plenary session (4-7 July 2005).
The two reports reflect the interests of Europe's local and regional government, says CEMR secretary general Jeremy Smith. We particularly welcome the Parliament's Regional Development committee's commitment to cohesion policy, and its insistence to earmark 0.41% of the Community GDP for the structural and cohesion funds.
The Hatzidakis report
(Regulations laying down provisions on Structural Funds )
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions welcomes the Hatzidakis report, and calls on MEPs to adopt it. CEMR particularly supports the strengthening of the partnership principle as expressed in the report. Structural Funds are designed for and implemented in Europe's regions and towns. In order to make them effective, there must be the closest possible partnership and a full dialogue between all stakeholders such as the EU institutions, national governments, and local and regional governments in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and assessment of the EU programmes.
We are also pleased to see that the Parliament's Regional Development committee has not overlooked the urban dimension of Structural Funds. (The report calls amongst others for adequate funding and partnership with local government in urban programmes within the European Regional Development Fund).
CEMR also welcomes the report's view that expenses related to the renovation of social housing with a view to to saving energy and protecting the environment should be eligible to funding by the EU programmes. It finally welcomes the proposal to allow funding for maritime cross-border cooperation beyond 150 km (The current legislation states that funding for maritime cross-border cooperation can't apply in cases of regions separated by more than 150km of sea).
The Fava report
(Regulation on the European Regional Development Fund)
CEMR supports the Fava report, and particularly the emphasis put on both the partnership principle and the role of local and regional government in the preparation and implementation of the fund.
It also welcomes the call for stronger measures to protect the environment and to support sustainable devleopment. Generally speaking, CEMR welcomes the Fava report, explains Jeremy Smith. In fact, as representative of Europe's local and regional government, CEMR asks MEPs to support only one amendment, related to access outside major urban centers. The report calls for a need to improve rail transport; why just the train? Access outside Europe's big cities is not limited to trains, but often relies exclusively on bus systems. There is no reason why bus systems should be excluded from ERDF funding.