“This 8th European Summit of Regions and Cities takes place at a critical moment for the future of the European Union itself. The European Union is currently threatened by the reappearance of the forces of obscurantism, the admirers of fascism, right-wing extremism, nationalism and populism, as well as the forces of neoliberalism targeting the social rights that European Union citizens have fought so hard for.
This is the background to today’s debate on the role of cohesion policy, which is one of the main pillars for a social, open, democratic Europe, at odds with exclusion, closed borders and xenophobia.
However, although the European Commission proposal contains a number of positive points since it involves simplification of procedures, it also contains other points which constitute a threat to the implementation of social cohesion policy. Cohesion policy, to make it clear, is not a “money-box”. It is deeply entrenched in the European Union’s treaties themselves, pursuing the vision of European solidarity.
Cohesion policy should continue to support an integrated development strategy at European Union level post 2020, including priorities such as climate action, transport accessibility for all, as well as support for small and medium-sized enterprises. A socially oriented development strategy addressing social, economic and territorial inequalities”.