S&D Euro MPs call for ambitious regional policy

On the eve of a high-level meeting with representatives of the ‚friends of cohesion’*, S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda urged EU leaders to make sure sufficient funds for regional policy are included in the discussions over Europe’s future finances.
Hannes Swoboda stressed:
“Europe is currently facing an unprecedented crisis. Growth is anaemic and will remain so in many countries in the medium term.
„We urge EU leaders not to follow a blind austerity policy and to agree on an ambitious regional policy in the discussions on the EU budget after 2014.“
S&D Euro MP and spokeswoman for regional policy, Constanze Krehl added:
„Over the years, cohesion policy has proven to be an effective tool for stimulating investment and creating jobs.
„Projects funded through the cohesion policy range from micro-credit financing in Sweden to improving energy efficiency in Estonia, as well as support for small- and medium-sized enterprises in many EU countries.
„In these times of crisis, cohesion funds can help the EU to achieve economic recovery. The new negotiating position proposed by the Cyprus presidency sets out a 13.9% cut compared to the European Commission’s proposal. This is not acceptable.
„If we want to achieve growth, if we want to create jobs, if we want to see prosperity reaching all the EU’s regions – then we need proper funding.
„Cohesion policy is not only the expression of solidarity between the 27 member states; it is a powerful vehicle to fulfil the goals of a smart, sustainable and inclusive European Union. Cohesion policy is the only EU-wide development policy and a big part of the solution to find a way out of this crisis.“
* The ‚friends of cohesion‘ are a group formed to co-ordinate policy between countries that benefit most from the cohesion policy. The members are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Croatia.