Plenković Attends Friends of Cohesion Meeting, Advocates More EU Funding

By 29 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 29, 2018 - The Friends of Cohesion meeting in Bratislava is a good opportunity to reiterate the importance of balanced regional development of all European Union member states and the need to reduce the inequalities between them, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday.

The meeting organised by Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini is a good opportunity for all member states, mainly those in Eastern Europe, but also founders such as Italy, to which it is important that the south continue to develop, to underline again the importance of balanced regional development of all member states, of reducing inequalities, and the significance of convergence in terms of economic growth, development and everything the European cohesion policy gives us as added value, Plenković told Croatian reporters covering his visit ahead of the meeting.

Representatives of the 16 EU member states which comprise the Friends of Cohesion group met today to make the political statement that they are against slashing cohesion funds in the EU's new multiannual budget intended for reducing differences between richer and poorer member states.

Our messages today will be that in the 2021-27 financial perspective those funds should be the real impetus for economic growth and development at national level, said Plenković. He was accompanied by Croatian Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac.

In order to maintain a sufficient level of cohesion policy funds, the Friends of Cohesion countries must act together, Pellegrini said ahead of the meeting also attended by the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia as well as senior representatives of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Italy, Portugal and Greece.

The 2021-27 multiannual financial framework which the European Commission proposed in May envisages less funds for the cohesion policy and agriculture than the current one. Under the proposal, Croatia would get 6% less funds.

Speaking of the 2021-27 framework, Plenković said its context was tied to two key elements, "a Union without the United Kingdom, one of the big contributors," and the question of "how to prevent with the Union's development policy the big problem of migration." He underlined the importance of the EU's awareness of the need to bolster the security policy, the external dimension and internal security.

Pellegrini said the Friends of Cohesion would sign a joint declaration at the end of the meeting to say that the new European budget must ensure sufficient funds to deal with new challenges such as security, defence, climate change and migration.

For more on Croatia’s use of EU funds, click here.