The European Union’s institutions have reacted promptly, within the limits of their competences, to the propagation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, the European Parliament will approve the European Commission’s proposal to allow the use of the so far unspent budget funds of the cohesion policy in the fight against the Coronavirus. The Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) of the European Committee of the Regions, led by the Party of European Socialists (PES) member and Vice-President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region (France), Isabelle Boudineau, supported this in a written procedure, given the urgency of the case.
Isabelle Boudineau, President of the COTER Commission of the European Committee of the Regions and Vice-president of the New Aquitaine region (France), welcomed the decision and declared:
“The fight against the Covid-19 proves once again that the European Union’s cohesion policy is one of its most important solidarity tools and that it is indispensable to react to crisis situations. It ensures, in a flexible way, a European response to solve the concrete and urgent problems the European citizens can have. While the debates on the future multiannual financial framework (MFF) are still ongoing, we (as the Party of European Socialists Group in the European Committee of the Regions) advocate for maintaining a strong cohesion policy in the future, with at least the same budget in constant euros in comparison to the current period. Beyond the cohesion policy, regions need more solidarity from the EU in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In New-Aquitaine, we have already provided more than 50 million euros to help our companies and have lent some buildings to allow the medical staff to rest while they are on the front lines of the crisis. If we have to create a European bond to meet this challenge, then let’s do it!”
Manuela Bora, Regional Minister of the Marche region (Italy) and Coordinator for the Party of European Socialists Group in the COTER Commission, added:
“Nearly 70,000 Covid-19 cases have already been reported in Italy and the number is getting higher every day in my region. Marche ranks fifth among the Italian regions when it comes to Coronavirus cases in our country. Local and regional authorities are the first in line when it comes to responding to this crisis, and many are not sufficiently equipped and miss financial resources to react. Providing cities and regions with the possibility to use unallocated cohesion policy funds for investments in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak can tangibly reflect the European Union’s solidarity and give a signal of hope to our citizens.”
Notes to the editor:
- In a letter sent to the European Parliament and to the Council of the European Union, the President of the COTER Commission, Isabelle Boudineau, expressed her support to the European Commission for the proposal to mobilise investments in the health care systems of Member States (and in other sectors of their economies) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The text is available here.
- An infographic of the initiatives of the New Aquitaine region is available here.
- More information on the initiatives of the Marche region is available here.