Although exchanges about post-2020 cohesion policy began a few months ago, the Forum on Cohesion on 26-27 June marks the beginning of discussions on the definition of the future cohesion policy and therefore the Structural Funds future intervention.
Reduction in endowments requested by the Commission towards new priorities
The maintenance of the level of funding for cohesion policy has been called into question in the scenarios on the future of the EU written by the European Commission in its latest White Paper. In a delicate context of negotiating the future European budget, the European Commission would like to redeploy European public finances in favor of new priorities: competitiveness and sustainability, but also security and migration (Le Point).
Regions and civil society in favor of an ambitious cohesion policy
In response to this, the managing authorities of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ERDF, ESF, EAFRD) expressed their concerns and called for greater clarity and accessibility for these funds (Caisse des Dépôts). Civil society actors expressed their doubts and their willingness to promote a “Europe centered on the environment and social issues” (EESC).
If territories find some of the Commission’s announced priorities to their liking, such as competitiveness and sustainability, discussions on post-2020 cohesion policy should intensify in the coming months, especially on the thorny issue of the Structural Funds budget which could be at the expense of other policies such as security or migration. Having sufficient resources to support future solutions to the challenges faced by European territories, particularly in terms of competitiveness, innovation, environment and employment, will certainly be the spearhead of future exchanges.