Committee of the Regions and the Social Affairs Committee at the EP expressed concerns on the EC proposal for cohesion policy

Committee of the Regions (CoR) President Mercedes Bresso opposed Commission plans to suspend all EU regional development funds for countries that breach European deficit rules. Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, responsible for the cohesion policy report at the European Parliament, expressed her concerns about a possible link between the allocation of funds to social projects and the respect for budget discipline required by the stability and growth pact.

Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions opposed to one of the cornerstones of European Commission's reform programme to the cohesion policy, to suspend EU funds for countries flouting the stability and growth pact or other deficit rules. The European Commission previously presented its legislative proposals for the next generation of regional development funds for the years 2014-2020. Bresso emphasised the damaging knock-on effects that the 'funding suspension' would have on the ground and showed herself irritated because the ignored the strong opposition of the Committee of the Regions, the European Parliament and of the other concerned stakeholders on this point.

On the other hand, the CoR President broadly welcomed other parts of the legislative package. For instance, she welcomed the new common framework for all major EU funds, a stronger role for local and regional authorities in new partnership contracts, support for 'transition regions', the proposed regionalisation of the European Social Fund or increased options for territorial cooperation.

The Employment and Social Affairs Committee at the European Parliament recognised that the new proposal by the European Commission makes important steps forward as regards integrating Europeans in the job market: the allocation of funds in accordance with the priorities of the 2020 strategy for growth and employment, the allocation of at least 20% of European Social Fund credits to social inclusion and combating poverty, and simplifying procedures. However, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Committee's responsible for the report expressed concerns about a possible link between the allocation of funds and respect for the stability and growth pact. She underlined that the EU cannot impose a double penalty on countries already in difficulty. Morin-Chartier also suggested to the Commission to attach the European food aid programme for the most deprived (PEAD) to the European Social Fund.