Member States want to make the post-2013 Cohesion Policy result-oriented and consistent with the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy. So, they expect the European Commission primarily to specify target areas and to develop efficient means of measurement. At the informal meeting in Gödöllő, on 20 May 2011, the ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy had a last chance to express their views before the European Commission presents its draft proposal, which is due to be published in June.
The negotiations conducted by the Hungarian Presidency have made it clear that the principles guiding Cohesion Policy will include thematic concentration and a result-oriented approach in the future, Minister for National Development Tamás Fellegi said in his opening speech.
Earlier, Mr Fellegi told eu2011.hu that the results have received greater publicity recently, due to the economic crisis. Net contributor Member States, exerted a lot pressure for the available resources to be used to strengthen Europe’s economic growth instead of on the cohesion policy. Accordingly, the current debate also laid great emphasis on the EU’s ambition to establish a tighter link between its cohesion policy and the growth for stimulating Europe 2020 Strategy. “We should also bear in mind that cohesion policy has its own goals, the first being inclusion,” the Minister explained.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor also said at the informal meeting in Gödöllő, that it is vital to establish a tight link between the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Cohesion Policy.
Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn pointed out that the achievement of results will take more than a connection of goals and means. There is also a need for a result-oriented policy. “We should build mechanisms that permit the measurement of results and allow for adjustments to be made,” the Commissioner stressed. He added that Member States should strive to set quantifiable objectives.
Commission: to remove barriers to efficient functioning
Mr Fellegi confirmed that the result-oriented approach seems appropriate for Member States and emphasised the importance of conditionality. The latter refers to the 5th Cohesion Report where certain sets of criteria would be laid down in the Commission’s future development; and investment partnership contracts, and in the operational programmes. The minister urged for an agreement to be made on the details and the prevention of further administrative burdens, he said.
The biggest debate was touched off precisely by the definition of details as certain Member States voiced their concerns over the principle of conditionality. Mr Hahn called the objections ungrounded and added that, “I wish we had called the method a success factor.” In his view, conditionality means at the beginning of the new cohesion period, the EU’s joint action should be to identify and to remove the obstacles to efficient implementation, as soon as possible. He added, “I am convinced that a prudent use of this means will not impose another administrative burden; instead, it will promote the reduction of administration.”
László Andor made it clear that the Commission cannot imagine the conditionality of EU funds as being unfair or counterproductive..
Positive incentives needed
Member States confirmed that they would only support the application of positive incentives. A case in point mentioned by Johannes Hahn, was on the performance reserve. This means that a portion of the cohesion budget would be distributed according to periodical evaluations. The Commissioner clearly stated that, the Commission would not reward the best, but those that have done well as opposed to their own initial situation would benefit.
The Hungarian Presidency put the proposals of the European Commission’s 5th Cohesion Report on the agenda of several professional and civil forums. At its session held on 21 February, the General Affairs Council laid down that the Union will continue its efforts for harmonious development, through Cohesion Policy as its primary means.
Member States used the informal meeting in Gödöllő as their last opportunity to share their ideas with the Commission, within the Council’s framework. The Commission is expected to present its proposal on the future of the post-2013 cohesion policy as soon as possible, in order to allow for a timely launch of implementation of post 2013 programmes. A detailed debate on the budget implications and legislative proposals of the policy will start subsequently, in the second half of 2011, under the Polish Presidency.
Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Cohesion Policy
Date: 2011. May 20.
Cohesion Policy: adopting Presidency conclusions on the future of the Cohesion Policy.
Location: Royal Palace of Gödöllő
Address: Hungary 2100 Gödöllő, Gödöllői Királyi Kastély
Planned programme for the press
Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Cohesion Policy
(20 May 2011, Budapest, Gödöllő)
Attention! This draft program is subject to change.
Please check information before use.
20 May 2011
Meeting sessions at the Royal Palace of Gödöllő are not open for the press.
Parts of the sessions will be broadcast live by the Host Broadcaster (HB) at the press centre.
Representatives of the press may be present at the delegation’s arrival at the Royal Palace of Gödöllő with escort. Photographers and TV reporters can sign up at the HB desk in the back of the press centre for the opening ceremony and family photo. Please note that in case the number of applicants exceeds the venue’s capacity, they will be placed in pools.
Press conferences will be broadcast live (live stream) on the Presidency’s website at eu2011.hu.
9.00 Escorted transfer of press to Royal Palace of Gödöllő to take photos and make short interviews on arrival of delegation heads
9.20 Arrival of delegations at Royal Palace of Gödöllő
9.45 Keynote interview with Minister for National Development Tamás Fellegi, live broadcast at Press Centre
10.00- Working session of cohesion policy ministers at the Riding Arena
12.30 of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő
Chair: Tamás Fellegi, Minister for National Development Topic:
How to make Cohesion Policy more effective in achieving results?
12.40- Family photo at Baroque Theatre
12.45 25 years of Cohesion Policy – ceremonial cutting of the anniversary cake (open for press)
Doorstep interview with Minister for National Development Tamas Fellegi, journalists have to register at the Media Desk
13.40- Informal lunch for delegation heads
14.30- Press conference at Press Centre in Gödöllő (House of Arts)
Tamás Fellegi, Minister for National Development,
Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy
Andor László, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
15.00- Working session continued at the Riding Arena of the Royal Palace
17.20 of Gödöllő Topic:
How to make Cohesion Policy contribute more effectively to the Europe 2020 Strategy?
INFORMATION ON THE PRESS CENTER
House of Arts, Gödöllő
Address: H- 2100 Gödöllő
Szabadság út 6.
GPS coordinates: 47.5990 / 19.3503
On 20 May, 2011 (Friday) the Press Center opens at 08.00.
Broadband cable and WiFi internet connections, phones, faxes, information (media) desk, HB desk, printed publications, photo copier, TV and radio booths (on order), news conference area, working rooms for journalists, briefing rooms, stand-up positions, buffet.
If you wish to use our shuttle buses please send an e-mail to email@example.com with your name, media organization and e-mail address.
On May 20th shuttle buses to Gödöllő leave from the Museum of Etnography (Néprajzi Múzeum, address: Kossuth square 12.) To Gödöllő: 07.30, 13.00
Back from Gödöllő: 15.30, 17.00
• From Budapest on the M0-M31 or M3 motorways.
• From Budapest via Örs vezér square on main road No.3.
IMPORTANT: Only a limited number of parking spaces are available in front of the Press Center (House of Arts). These are reserved mainly for television crews and handicapped persons. Please send your parking space requirement by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• From Budapest Örs vezér square by HÉV suburban railway to Gödöllő Szabadság tér station (50 minutes).
• from Budapest’s Stadion bus station with Volan buses;
• from Budapest’s Keleti railway station by train (Hatvan-Füzesabony – Miskolc line)