Fifteen member states of the European Union (EU) on Saturday insisted that the cohesion budget for 2021-2027 must maintain the level of the previous seven years “in real terms” and refused any change in the co-financing rates of each country.
“Financing for Cohesion Policy for 2021-2027 should maintain the level of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework in real terms. No Member State should suffer a marked and disproportionate reduction in its cohesion budget,” read the declaration of the “Friends of Cohesion” Summit held in Beja, Azores, the Atlantic islands of Portugal, according to Lusa.
The 15 representatives of countries in the south and east of the EU also underline in the text that “appropriate implementation conditions are decisive for the success of policies and do not have an impact on the European budget”, so “co-financing must remain at rates at present, pre-financing must remain at sufficiently high levels and no abrupt changes should be made to the cancellation rule”.
These principles, they argue, “ensure the efficient and effective use of cohesion funds without placing an extra burden on national budgets”.
The negotiations on the European budget for the next seven years are at an impasse, with member states divided between the so-called “frugal” countries — which do not want to contribute more than 1 percent of the Gross National Income (GNI) to the European budget, and the 17 member states that are part of the “Friends of Cohesion” rejecting cuts in cohesion and in the Common Agricultural Policy.
The Beja Declaration was signed by 15 of the 17 “Friends of Cohesion” countries, namely, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic and Romania.