Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Cohesion policy

Cohesion policy - 21.02.2017

Debating cohesion policy: simplification is the way
There are too many layers of management at the moment in structural funds, too many disparaging overlaps, instruments and funds.” This statement was made by CEMR’s representative, Serafin Pazos Vidal, who is also the head of the Scottish association’s (COSLA) Brussels office, during the debate organised by the European Commissioner for regional policy, Corina Crețu, on the future of cohesion policy after 2020.

This event, gathering regional representatives and local government associations based in Brussels, was an opportunity to hear the views and thoughts of the main managers and beneficiaries of cohesion policy.

Many of CEMR’s member associations were present, such as our English association (LGA), our Scottish association COSLA and our Dutch association (VNG). They spoke with one voice, the local voice, to stress the importance of the partnership principle, territorial inequalities and the simplification of cohesion policy. On this basis, Mr Pazos Vidal asked the Commissioner “how the current structures and aims can be reformed” and “how ambitiously they can change” to simplify access to and use of European funds.

Commissioner Crețu then replied that the debate on the reform had already started within the different institutions, “because this will be the most important topic [in the future],” before adding that “we already have some ideas already to reform this policy [by being] more focused on key instruments, more focused on administrative capacity, and the strong link with reforms.” This is essential, especially concerning structural reforms (country-specific recommendations). Finally, the Commissioner wanted to make clear that “simplification, of course, is at the core of our policy.”

In the next few weeks, CEMR and its member associations will publish their positions on the future of cohesion policy. Until then, feel free to read CEMR’s 2016 statement on the future of EU cohesion policy.


Marine Gaudron
Advisor - Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion, Local Finances

Email :
Tel : +32 2 213 86 93
Skype : marine.gaudron
Next steps:

28 February: Mayor of Sala and CEMR spokesperson on cohesion policy Carola Gunnarsson will speak at the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI)

28 March: CEMR event: “Paving the way for a more territorial Cohesion Policy after 2020”
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