S&Ds demand real support for those people and regions hardest hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members in the committee for regional development (REGI) voted today on the European Commission’s proposal to add €47.5 billion to ongoing cohesion policy programmes through the ReactEU initiative, recognising it as a good initial response, while demanding substantial improvements.
Constanze Krehl MEP, S&D spokeswoman on regional development and the European Parliament’s co-rapporteur on the topic, said:
“Crisis support should go to those who were hit the hardest by the pandemic. ReactEU is a lifeline for the people. We should fund it solidly so that it can face all the demands on the ground.
“We must take one step further. The entitlement to funding must go back to February 1 2020, at the outset of the health crisis. People must be able to benefit from these sums retroactively. It is also important that funding from ReactEU goes to cross-border regions, which were particularly hard hit due to border closures, as well as to the most deprived people and to young people.
“Consequently, we will introduce minimum shares to support Interreg, the European Social Fund and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, as well as the Youth Employment Initiative. No region and no people should be left behind.
“Our goal is restoring growth and creating and maintaining employment as soon as possible, all in line with the long-term aims of the green and digital transition.”
Note to editors:
The European Commission’s initial proposal of deploying €55 billion to ReactEU was rejected twice by the Council, who proposed cuts totalling €7.5 billion, leaving the top-up at the amount voted in the REGI committee today - €47.5 billion.
The money from the ReactEU package will already be available to beneficiaries through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) in the current financial exercise. For the 2021-2022 period, the money will be made available from the Next Generation EU.