Gathering at their Group meeting ahead of the CoR plenary session, PES members reiterated today their firm opposition against the possible suspension of European funds for Spain and Portugal by the European Commission, which could - as announced by commissioners Jyrki Katainen and Corina Creţu at the structured dialogue with the European Parliament on 4 October - follow the presentation of the draft budgetary plans by the Portuguese and Spanish governments on the 15th of October.
PES Group President Catiuscia Marini, president of the Umbria region (Italy), stressed that "the Committee of the Regions (and our Group in particular) has from the very beginning firmly opposed the introduction of macro-economic conditionality. You cannot take the EU investment away from cities and regions for policies pursued by national governments. It would be all the more illogical as Spain and Portugal were absolved of any blame in August with the decision not to impose penalties on them. As local and regional authorities, we can assure that macro-conditionality is not a positive incentive and does not encourage us to do better. On the contrary, it only hampers our investment capacity."
Commenting on the statement of European Commission vice-President Jyrki Katainen that "the regional and national levels form together one single economy", she emphasised that "there is no single national economy, but many economic and structural differences between regions which form part of Europe’s diversity and can't be addressed by a one-size-fits-all approach".
‘We call upon the European Commission to not take any counter-productive steps. A suspension of funds would seriously put solidarity at stake, which is the very essence of cohesion policy", she concluded.
The Committee of the Regions is expected to adopt on the second day of its plenary session a resolution on the '2016 European Semester and in view of the 2017 Annual Growth Survey' that reconfirms its opposition to macroeconomic conditionality.