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Saturday, 01 February

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban attended the Summit of the "Friends of Cohesion" Group in Beja, Portugal

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban’s participation in the Summit of the "Friends of Cohesion" Group, held on February 1, 2020, in Beja, Portugal


Prime Minister Ludovic Orban attended the Summit of the "Friends of Cohesion" Group, which was held on Saturday, February 1, 2020, in Beja, Portugal. The event was hosted by Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, and was attended by heads of state or government and ministers from the member states of the Group, as well as the European Commissioners responsible for budget and cohesion policy.

The main objective of the summit was the coordination of the cohesion friendly member states in the perspective of the future stages of the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027. This approach is all the more relevant ahead of an extraordinary European Council meeting to be held in Brussels on February 20, 2020.

In their messages, the participating states reaffirmed the importance and the priority role that the cohesion policy must play in the future Multiannual Financial Framework, as a policy designed to support economic and social convergence at the level of the entire Union. At the same time, the participants emphasized the importance of the unity of the Friends of Cohesion Group in order to materialise this objective in the final stage of the negotiations on the future Multiannual Financial Framework

In his speech at the Summit, the Romanian Prime Minister emphasized the importance of agreeing on an ambitious budget that can provide the Union with the resources necessary to attain the objectives reflected in its Strategic Agenda, a realistic budget at the same time, in terms of the need to ensure a balance between growth and convergence objectives and the response to new challenges at European level. At the same time, Prime Minister reiterated Romania's support for reaching a political agreement on the future European budget as soon as possible, which will allow the next European funded programmes and projects to kick off in a timely manner.

Prime Minister mentioned the unquestionable contribution of cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy to the process of bridging development gaps and ensuring equal conditions for all the member states, so as to create the premises of a more competitive Union, a Union that can achieve its newly-established climate change goals.

Prime Minister referred to the need to preserve cohesion policy as the main instrument for promoting investments at European level that should receive adequate funding. In addition to the level of allocations, Prime Minister emphasized that the future agreement must include provisions that allow for a higher level of flexibility at the level of the member states in the programming and implementation of projects. In this context, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban also highlighted that cohesion policy must be able to provide the most efficient response to the needs of the member states and regions, and an increased level of flexibility in terms of thematic concentration, as well as the establishment of certain more favourable implementation conditions that would allow them to fully capitalize on the investment opportunities under the cohesion policy.

In his speech, the Romanian Prime Minister also referred to the role of the cohesion policy in backing the objectives of the transition towards climate neutrality, highlighting, in context, the need for the resources proposed to support the Member States in the transition process under the Just Transition Fund to be complementary to the allocations for the cohesion policy and not affect the achievement of the objectives of bridging the development gaps pursued by this policy.

The participating states adopted a political statement that conveys a strong commitment to supporting an ambitious budget capable of securing the Union's long-term priorities and promoting convergence among the Member States while maintaining the central role of the cohesion policy.

At the same time, the joint declaration emphasises the fundamental role and potential of adjusting the traditional European policies, the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy, amidst constantly changing challenges, such as climate change, demographic developments, orientation towards innovation, the need to create jobs and increase employment.

In their joint declaration, the signatory member states conveyed an alarm signal over the proposals to cut funding for the cohesion policy in the future Multiannual Financial Framework. At the same time, the document emphasizes the importance of flexible and adequate implementation conditions for the specifics of the beneficiaries, which contribute decisively to an increase in the performance of the cohesion policy, especially at the level of regions that are in the most unfavourable circumstances under the aspect of the development gaps.

The signatory states also argue that the financial envelope for the cohesion policy in the future Multiannual Financial Framework should not be affected by the advanced solutions for financing measures aimed at achieving climate neutrality, such as the Just Transition Fund. The Declaration underscores in the context the importance of an ambitious, balanced and fair budget that would allow for the continuation of the implementation of the Union’s investment objectives.

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