It is Important to Get the Strategy Right - All Projects Must Follow the Strategy

Press release - Informal Meeting of Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy/Vilnius

After the Informal Meeting of Ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy in Vilnius, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn issued the statement: 

"I am pleased to see that the reform approach of my proposal has been endorsed by the co-legislators. We have worked hard to improve the rules for using European Structural and Investment Funds, so that more than €500 billion can be mobilized in support of the Union’s economic recovery and long-term agenda for growth. This reform re-positions Cohesion Policy as the main investment tool to promote the EU economy and improve the quality of life of all EU citizens.

Yet, this reform will have the desired positive effect only if we are serious about implementing it. The first step in this process is finalising the Partnership Agreements, which will define each Member State’s investment strategy for the next seven years.

It is not easy to prepare these investment blueprints. This is why the Commission has already been facilitating the preparation through informal negotiations for the past year and a half. As a result, nearly half of the Member States are ready to officially submit their Partnership Agreements once the legislation enters into force. However, some Member States are not yet there. They are lagging behind in the programming process or they have not made sufficient progress in drafting clear strategies for growth-oriented investments.

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to get the strategy right. And it is imperative to ensure that all projects follow strategy, and not the other way around.

I urge you today to do whatever you can to submit quality draft strategies as soon as possible. It is the only way forward so that project approval and implementation can start as early as possible in 2014. We must avoid the mistakes of the period 2007-2013, when it took nearly a year and a half before EU investments started flowing into the economy.

But let's be very clear. The Commission is not ready to trade quality for speed. We will take all the time necessary to agree on robust, clear, forward looking strategies and programmes. Also, the Commission will apply the same standards when evaluating and eventually adopting all Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes.

To achieve this, we must work on three, mutually reinforcing elements."

The full press release can be read here

Source: European Commission Press Releases Database