European Parliament negotiators, under the lead of the S&D Group, today put the finishing touches on the ERDF-CF (European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund), a tool worth 242,9 billion €, aimed to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions. Two years of work in extraordinary circumstances have now concluded with an agreement with the Council on crucial regulation that will support employment, welfare, sustainable economic growth and development in the next seven years in all EU regions.
Andrea Cozzolino MEP, S&D lead negotiator on the file, said:
“We now have the regulation that gives European regions the necessary tools to face the big challenges, from climate to digitalisation to this ongoing pandemic. Never before has cohesion policy had these kind of tools to combat inequalities, including for depopulated areas, in order to leave nobody behind!
“From sustainable tourism to social housing, this is an ambitious regulation that offers enormous opportunities for the territories and which allows member states to face significant international challenges such as the pandemic, migration or climate crisis. We also achieved better conditions for the public railway sector and investments on residual waste in line with the circular economy.”
Constanze Krehl MEP, S&D spokesperson on regional development, said:
“The balanced approach we achieved today on natural gas will facilitate the way forward for a climate neutral Europe respecting the Paris agreement. We reduced the threshold to 0.2% for more developed member states with more than 90 % of EU average GNI per capita, to 1.0 % for less developed member states below 90 % of EU average GNI and thirdly to a limited number of member states, which are heavily dependant on coal, to a maximum of 1.55% for natural gas – and in order to not allow fossil fuels at all in the Just Transition Fund. We ensured on top of that a phase-out date by 31 December 2025 to support CO2-reductions by 2030. The goals in the European Green Deal with a 30 % climate spending target, sustainable urban development for greening our cities and, for the first time ever, targets for biodiversity are a big step forward”
“Against initial strong opposition from the Council, we have managed to secure points that were essential for us as Social Democrats. We have secured strong regulation on social housing for families with low incomes and found a way forward to integrate better third-country nationals and migrants. We have also successfully introduced gender balance for expert groups. With 242,9 billion euros available, this ERDF-CF is the biggest public investment tool available to make Europe green, social and fair.”
Rovana Plumb MEP, S&D vice-president for regional development, said:
“I am glad that a good solution could be found for the transition process to a climate neutral Europe by 2050. Under strong conditions and limits in line with European Green Deal we will allow efficient district heating systems and we agreed on a phase-out for gas-pipelines by the year 2025 in line with the climate law mandate of the European Parliament. For the first time we introduced the aim for environmental challenges in the scope of ERDF-CF and with strong social aspects this is a good day for Europe to fulfil the Green Deal with a red heart for all of our citizens."
Note to editors:
Financing will be available on 1.1.2021, pending an agreement reached on the next European budget (MFF) and on the 2021 budget and an agreement in Plenary on ERDF-CF.