CPMR criticises moves to cut Interreg budget

Written by Martin Banks on 28 August 2018 in News

The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) has voiced “disappointment” at the European Commission’s proposal to cut the budget for Interreg.

Photo credit: Press Association

This is an EU-funded project that helps regional and local governments across Europe.

Interreg currently receives some €359m from the European regional development fund (ERDF) for the spending period 2014-2020.

Vasco Cordeiro, the President of the CPMR, the body that represents Europe’s outermost regions, has criticised moves to cut the Interreg budget after 2020.

He said, “The Commission’s decision to reduce the Interreg budget is very concerning as it is a unique and indispensable source of funding for cooperation across borders. 

“The discontinuation of maritime cross-border programmes is a huge concern for CPMR regions.”

He added, “However, we welcome the Commission’s positive decision to leave the door firmly open for UK regions to take part in Interreg programmes after Brexit”.

The CPMR said it the Commission proposal will provide the opportunity for the UK to participate in future Interreg programmes after it leaves the EU next March.

The CPMR, based in Rennes, has argued strongly for continued cooperation at regional level following Brexit.

However, the CPMR said it “regrets” that the draft regulation limits participation in the new Interregional investment ‘component’ to EU member states, which would exclude participation of UK nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and regions and Norwegian counties from some potential projects.

Further comment on the issue came from CPMR Secretary General Eleni Marianou, who said, “It is essential to have Interreg programmes based on territorial needs and with the strong involvement of regions.”

The Italian added, “The Commission’s decision to strengthen the alignment between Interreg and macro-regional strategies is very positive but this requires strong multilevel governance of these strategies”. 

In particular, the CPMR said it is “alarmed” by proposals to merge maritime cross-border programmes into a new transnational ‘component’. 

A spokesperson said, “This would greatly jeopardise existing patterns of maritime cooperation at cross-border level.”

Potentially sweeping cuts in funding across a raft of areas are part of the current review of the long-term EU budget after 2020.

Cohesion funding currently makes up a huge chunk of the budget and is the main European investment policy to achieve the EU treaty objective of economic, social and territorial cohesion.

Within the context of the ongoing debate on the future of cohesion policy beyond 2020, the CPMR is the latest to voice concern about possible future cuts to cohesion funding.


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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