16 Nov 2016



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Facilitating the use of EU cohesion policy funding

Ministers welcomed the adoption by the Council on 14 November of a regulation that allows member states experiencing financial difficulties to take advantage of higher EU co-financing rates under cohesion policy. The regulation will help Cyprus, Greece and any other countries that might receive financial assistance to make easier use of EU cohesion policy funding. It does not increase the total amounts for these countries.
Ministers were also informed by the Presidency of the state of play of work within the Council on a regulation simplifying the rules governing the European structural and investment (ESI) funds – the so-called omnibus regulation.

Results and first assessment of new elements of EU cohesion policy

Ministers exchanged views on the results achieved in the years 2007-2013 and on a first assessment of new elements of cohesion policy and ESI funds for the period 2014-2020. The discussion focused on the main objectives of the policy, the measures taken to achieve them and how the results have been communicated to citizens.

Mid-term review of the multi-annual financial framework 2014-2020

The Council gave broad support to the Slovak presidency’s latest proposal on the mid-term review of the multi-annual budgetary framework. One member state still has a reservation and could not yet give its agreement. The presidency proposal provides for increased financial support to help the EU to cope with current challenges. Additional budgetary flexibility would allow the EU to deal more effectively and quickly with unforeseen events. The proposed changes would also help to avoid the excessive accumulation of unpaid bills.

“Our compromise is designed to make the EU’s budgetary framework fit for the remaining years of the 2014-2020 period by providing more money to address the migration crisis, reinforce security, boost growth and create jobs. And it would avoid undue pressure on member states’ national budgets at a time of continuing efforts to consolidate public finances. We are now going to inform the European Parliament about all the elements supported by the Council. The revised regulation needs the Parliament’s consent, and we hope we will get it soon.”

Ivan Korčok, chief negotiator for the MFF of the Slovak Presidency of the Council

December European Council

Ministers started preparations for the December European Council by discussing an annotated draft agenda. At their meeting on 15 December EU leaders will address four items:

  • migration, where they will set orientations for further work on partnership frameworks, assess the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement and discuss the reform of the EU asylum system
  • security, with a focus on the implementation of the security agenda and EU cooperation on external security and defence
  • economic and social development, youth, where they will take stock of progress on the European fund for strategic investments and on the fight against youth unemployment
  • external relations with a focus on Russia and the Netherlands referendum on the EU-Ukraine association agreement

 Rule of law mechanism

Ministers exchanged views on the experience so far of the Council’s annual rule of law dialogue established in December 2014 to promote and safeguard the rule of law. The presidency will draft a note reflecting the views expressed and suggestions made to further improve the rule of law dialogue.

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