The Bundesrat

Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the Cohesion Fund, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and financial rules for those and for the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument

Scrutiny details

Subsidiarity deadline: 31/07/2020
Scrutiny Information

Scrutiny date: 15/02/2019

Subsidiarity Concern:

No Important information to exchange

No Veto

Information on parliamentary scrutiny

Referred to Committees on:

European Union Questions
Labour, Integration and Social Policy

Agricultural Policy and Consumer Protection
the Environment, Nature Protection and Reactor Safety

Economic Affairs

Lisbon Treaty procedures
  Political Dialogue

13/03/2020 | Scrutiny results - COM20200023

The Bundesrat welcomes the Commission's initiative supporting regions financially with the Just Transition Fund (JTF), that will be most affected by the changes necessary for a climate-neutral economy by 2050. As in Germany the regions that will be hit the most by economic and social side effects of the transition towards climate neutrality are those regions that are currently preparing the phasing out of coal mining, the Bundesrat calls to ensure that these regions can profit from funding of the JTF.

Given the fact that the Commission has amended its proposal on the Regulation laying down common provisions on EU-funds of the cohesion policy in order to include the JTF, the Bundesrat calls on the Commission to ensure the financing of the JTF will not be to the disadvantage of established EU-cohesion funds. The proposal is presented at a moment, when negotiations on the future MFF as well as on operational programmes (OPs) have already quite advanced. Additional requirements will not contribute to an on-time start of the funding period starting in 2021. Therefore, JTF-negotiations need to be conducted with high priority and should be finished ahead of the start of the new funding period. OPs are in the Bundesrat’s view the most important tools in strategic steering within one region. Hence, it is important to ensure a smooth interaction of JTF with other funds like EFRE and ESF+. The idea of the Commission that regions shall submit exhaustive lists of projects already when submitting territorial plans (cf. art. 7 para. 2 of the proposal) is neither appropriate nor feasible.

The Bundesrat clearly objects to the provision foreseen in article 6 para. 2 of the proposal, stipulating an obligatory and und unilateral transfer of money from EFRE and ESF+ towards JTF. Such transfer is going to reduce flexibility of the financial planning of new funds considerably, especially for economically underdeveloped regions, that will not profit from JTF-funding. Transfers from EFRE towards JTF seem to be difficult also in the context of the latest MFF-negotiation box from December 2019, as the required quota of 30 % for the political goal 2 (“A more greener Europe”) and the JTF-leverage will limit flexibility and individual requirements of financing in regions by EFRE.

In the Bundesrat’s view, the allocation of funds should be more transparent. Therefore, it calls on the Commission to revise Annex I of the proposal. The Bundesrat states that JTF will create a system for programming, administration and control, as well as monitoring and reporting, which will lead to heavy additional administrative burden which do not correspond to the funding of JTF itself. Such requirements will lead to considerable delay of the execution of the funds. Instead, the Bundesrat suggests including JTF-funding in the general system of administration, reporting and control of EFRE and ESF+ funds. Thus would only require an adjustment of duration of EFRE and ESF+ projects. An additional, annual meeting with the Commission on the implementation of JTF would become obsolete.

15/02/2019 | Scrutiny results - COM20180375

After its previous statement on 19 October 2018, the Bundesrat adds with regards to the European Semester and the proposed greater consideration of CSRs in the structural funds’ programming:

The Bundesrat generally welcomes the Commission’s approach to henceforth support necessary structural reforms through positive incentives rather than sanctions. The Bundesrat points out that the procedure to establish investment guidelines has been initiated – without the conclusion of negotiations on and the entering into force of legal bases for the programming of structural funds. The Bundesrat further points out that the Annex to the Country Report remains a non-binding consultative document, even after the consultation of member states. The Bundesrat renews its call for a continued use of structural funds on a regional level only after the involvement of regional actors and their specific experiences to maintain ownership and effectiveness. The Bundesrat sees the need for transparent procedures and appropriate deadlines.

19/10/2018 | Scrutiny results - COM20180375

The Bundesrat that the Commission has presented its MFF proposal in a timely manner, and, the interest of an effective preparation and timely start of the new funding period, for negotiations to be concluded expeditiously before the European Elections. It notes that, according to Article 174 TFEU, Cohesion policy contributes significantly to the economic, social and territorial cohesion in Europe. The Bundesrat expects that the proposed leaner regulation, through its greater clarity, will lead to better manageability in practice. Additional documents, such as Recommendations, Guidelines and Delegated Acts should be limited to its bare minimum. The latter, furthermore, must not have retroactive effect, as this would greatly limit planning security for authorities and beneficiaries. The Bundesrat highlights the important role that transition and more developed regions play for the entire EU as growth and innovation engines.
The proposal only contains the budgets for ERDF and ESF, combined, while the national allocation between the two as well as between transition and more developed regions remains unclear. This should be remediated. The Bundesrat is critical of the proposed allocation of funds for 2021 to 20127, following a scheme of even distribution over the years. It would prefer annually increasing contributions in order to avoid overlap with the expiring funding period. The Bundesrat generally welcomes the continuation of the so called Berlin formula for distribution of funds as well as the relative GDP per capita criterion. It welcomes the addition of further criteria such as climate change (reduction of greenhouse gases), unemployment, specific demographic problems such as aging populations, and admission and integration of refugees for the allocation of funds. All these should be of relevance as long as their effect is not indirectly taken into account already through the GDP per capita criterion, already. The Bundesrat rejects the proposal to determine thematic priorities on the national instead of the regional level, as framework conditions may remain diverse among regions in the member states.
The Bundesrat welcomes the proposed option to transfer resources among the funds up to the amount of 5 per cent. However, in the light of increased flexibility, raising the threshold even more would be expedient. The rules for this combination should be specified and clarified. The Bundesrat rejects the  proposed mid-term review with the obligatory program modification in 2025 as this would exclude the funding of multiannual projects after a specific time frame. The Bundesrat adheres to the current planning period of seven years, only for program changes should Commission approval be required.
In light of the European added value, the financial allocation for European territorial cooperation is insufficient. In particular, the drastic cuts to cross-border cooperation (pillar 1) and the omission of the Interreg Europe part are incomprehensible.
The Bundesrat opposes the proposed high frequency of data transmission for monitoring purposes due to the increased efforts needed for that.
The Bundesrat remains highly critical of the proposed increase of national co-financing rates and asks the Commission to present solutions for the regions that would be affected the most by these disproportionate cuts. The Bundesrat rejects the proposed reintroduction of the n+2 provision as it would require too much of an administrative burden in the transitory phase, in particular.
The Bundesrat supports the Commission’s proposal to introduce more ambitious goals for the implementation of the Paris climate agreement as well as the UN’s SDGs into all EU programs. The proposal should be made more operational in the course of negotiations.

Contact points for EU matters

IPEX Correspondents:
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