On 5 November 2019, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, took part in the Friends of Cohesion Summit 2019 in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The aim of the event was to discuss the interests of the main recipients of the EU’s Cohesion Policy funding after 2020.
Latvia is pleased, the Parliamentary Secretary said, that we have maintained our common stance on the importance of the Cohesion Policy and treaty-based objectives of social and economic convergence. Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica underlined that it was important to keep the unity and dedication of the main recipients of EU structural funds on the issue of the future of the Cohesion Policy since this will help ensure sufficient funding for the policy in the EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
“Today the Cohesion Policy is not just about investments in infrastructure, it is also about investments in climate friendly projects, digitalisation research and innovations,” said the Parliamentary Secretary. The participants of the Summit recognised that the Cohesion Policy is a key EU investment tool that has significantly and visibly contributed to the real convergence of regions and Member States within the EU. The delegates agreed that the level of allocations to each Member State and the implementation conditions constitute a key priority in negotiations on the post-2020 MFF.
As a pledge of their unity, the 17 countries represented at the summit – Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain – signed a declaration on the EU’s new Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021–2027. The meeting was also attended by Günther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources.
See the text of the Declaration here: https://www.vlada.cz/en/media-centrum/aktualne/friends-of-cohesion-joint-declaration-on-the-multiannual-financial-framework-2021-2027-177497/
The aim of the Cohesion Policy is the reduction of social and economic disparities between the EU regions. 4.9 billion euros worth of cohesion funding have been allocated to Latvia in the 2014–2020 budgetary period. These funds are used as investments in regional development, including the reconstruction of buildings, schools and universities, hospitals, as well as for business development and in other areas. Since joining the EU, thanks to EU structural funds, Latvia has gradually moved towards the EU average level of socio-economic development, reaching 70% of the EU average GDP per capita in 2018. After 2020, Latvia will still need cohesion funding to continue growth and convergence with the EU’s average socio-economic development level.
In accordance with the EC proposal for the EU’s post-2020 budget, the overall cohesion funding is being reduced by 10%, which means that Latvia will continue receiving support from the Cohesion Policy funds, but of a considerably lower amount. Therefore, Latvia, together with other like-minded countries, is insisting that comparatively more of the EU’s budgetary resources should be channelled into the Cohesion Policy. Intensive negotiations are underway among Member States on the amount of funding available through the Multiannual Financial Framework and its distribution. To ensure a continued flow of investments, the decision on the EU budget should be taken as soon as possible.
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