“We are accused of being slow and lumbering. But in the difficult time we acted quickly and effectively” said Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms during EEC Online, reminding that anti-crisis changes in the cohesion policy are one of EU's first responses to Covid-19. She went on to declare that carbon-free and digital economy will be among the priorities of Europe recovering from the pandemic. “We cannot build future on the basis of outdated concepts” she explained.
In Poland about Euro 1.8 billion from the regional fund is being allocated for the purpose of tackling the pandemic and its economic consequences. Euro 1.3 billion has been earmarked for supporting small and medium enterprises as well as financing their circulating capital; Euro 426 million will be provided for the purpose of purchasing equipment for hospitals and satisfying other medical needs; Euro 74 million will be spent on supporting employees and particularly vulnerable groups as well as in order to purchase equipment enabling remote schooling.
According to Elisa Ferreira, this swift reaction under the cohesion policy is a background for comprehensive measures aiming at recovering the economy that were put forward by the European Commission on May 27th. The Next Generation EU worth Euro 750 billion.
“I am proud of the ambitious scale and extent of this proposal. Today is not the time for small-scale planning. I am also glad that the Next Generation EU proposal has a strong cohesion DNA” said the commissioner in her speech at EEC Online.
It is particularly important because the shock brought about by the pandemic was in general symmetrical - although it has affected all member states, its influence on the economy was limited to specific sectors and regions. Wealthy countries will find it easier to recover from the crisis, while for their worse-off counterparts it might prove a bit more challenging. The aim of the cohesion policy is to bridge the gap between them.
Elisa Ferreira, relating to the title of the panel - “EU Funds. Old and new priorities” - underlined that the new cohesion policy is supposed to combine old and tested solutions, although in need of refreshing, with brand new ideas.
At the same time Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak, Minister of Development Funds and Regional Policy, addressed the matter of a deadline for negotiating the new EU budget. “It is difficult to name a specific date but I believe that July will be the month when we arrive at final conclusions” said the minister.
“The European Recovery Fund will be a good stimulus for restarting economies after the pandemic” concluded Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak. She also underlined the fact that resources allocated under the scheme should be “tailor-made” - flexible and adapted to the needs of each and every member state.
“We find it optimistic that we will be able to invest in healthcare as recently it has fallen under the criticism of the European Commission who has delegated the financing of this sector to member states” stated the minister.
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