The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Tonio Borg today participated in the Summit of the Friends of Cohesion Group on the EU’s Financial Framework for 2014-2020 which was held in Bucharest, Romania. This Group is made up of fourteen EU Member States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain) and one acceding Member State (Croatia) that agree on the need for a strong EU Budget that contributes to economic growth and creation of jobs.
During this Summit the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasised the importance of the European Union maintaining a strong Cohesion Policy since this Policy is the EU’s key instrument for stimulating economic growth and investment. The ultimate objective is for Malta to secure the necessary funding to develop “a critical mass” in economic terms to allow the economy as a whole to benefit permanently from the capital injection that comes with Cohesion Policy funding.
This is important for Malta which has identified as its main priority in the negotiations on the 2014-2020 Financial Framework an allocation of Cohesion funding that reflects Malta’s needs and level of development. For the period 2007-2013, Malta was allocated €850 million under Cohesion funding which allowed for an investment programme covering a number of areas including transport, environment, tourism and employment. Malta’s priority is to maintain a similar level of funding for the period 2014-2020 in order to develop a ‘critical mass’ in economic terms to allow the economy as a whole to benefit permanently from the capital injection that comes with Cohesion Policy funding.
A joint declaration was agreed emphasising the importance of cohesion policy as the key investment tool at the disposal of the EU to boost growth, employment and competitiveness across EU regions, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy. This declaration will be presented at the upcoming European Council which will be held on 28 and 29 June 2012.
The European Council of 28-29 June 2012 will be the first substantial discussion at Heads of Government level on the EU’s Financial Framework for 2014-2020; including how best to ensure that the EU budget contributes to economic growth. In this regard, the Friends of Cohesion Group will be the principal lobbying group to support a strong Cohesion Policy (Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund) in terms of financial allocations. The summit allowed the Friends of Cohesion Group to further coordinate national positions and to discuss strategies with a view to achieving a successful outcome in the negotiations on the EU’s Financial Framework for 2014-2020.
Malta’s delegation was led by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Tonio Borg. He is accompanied by Ambassador Joe Cole, Director General (European and Economic Affairs), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Annex: Joint declaration on the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020