Friends of Cohesion to Convene in Portugal on 1 February

By 26 January 2020

ZAGREB, January 26, 2020 - The informal group called the Friends of Cohesion, which comprises 17 EU member states that are against slashing cohesion funds in the European Union's next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), will convene in Lisbon on 1 February at the invitation of Portuguese President Antonio Costa.

The meeting in Portugal follows after officials of the 17 member-states convened in Prague on 5 November 2019 to define the group's further steps in defending the cohesion and agricultural policies in the next financial framework. During their gathering in the Czech capital city they demanded that in the 2021-2027 EU budget, the same amount should be set aside for the purpose of cohesion as it has been so far the practice.

They also insist on preserving the same national proportion of means invested in EU co-funded projects in their respective countries, Also, they oppose plans to shorten the period necessary for the implementation of such projects.

The member states of the group are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. They are perceived as net recipients considering the EU budget.

In the next financial perspective, a solution should be found to offset the gap which will be caused on the revenue side by the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and furthermore, additional means should be provided for funding new priorities including border protection, research and development, migrations and the defence policy.

Therefore, the European Commission has decided to scale down some traditional policies such as the cohesion policy and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which have amounted to more than two thirds of the European budget.

European Council President Charles Michel has convened an extraordinary summit meeting on the future MFF for 20 February.

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