European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu willing to visit successful projects of the Romania-Serbia cross-border cooperation

During the today’s meeting between the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu with the delegation led by Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli, President of the AER (Region Istanbul, Turkey), accompanied by Mathieu Mori, Secretary General of AER, Magnus Berntsson, Vice-President of AER (Region Gotland, Sweden), Ilse Pendersen Standman (Lower Austria,  Republic of Austria) Sidony Venema (Region Flevoland, The Netherlands) and Mitar Vasiljević (AP Vojvodina, Serbia), there was a discussion about the priorities of European regions in development of the Future of Cohesion Policy.

In that respect, the political initiative for the continuation of funding through the Cohesion Policy post 2020 was presented by developed regions led by Lower Austria. The initiative does not require modification of the Cohesion Policy in terms of priorities, and no region is expected to be deprived of planned funds, with a note that the Cohesion Policy must be aimed at everyone in the EU.


The initiative to simplify the administrative procedures in the use of the Cohesion Fund to great extent was proposed by the Dutch regions, coordinated by Flevoland. The representative of Flevoland pointed out that there were serious problems with funding in terms of complicated administrative procedures and audit of the Cohesion Fund, and in that sense a lot of potential applicants from the Netherlands refrained from applying due to the overload of bureaucratic procedures. In the autumn, concrete proposals for the simplification of the Structural Funds and procedures under the Cohesion Policy were expected, which would be submitted to Commissioner Cretu’s team.

The representative of Vojvodina stressed that further work on strengthening the administrative capacity for the use of the Cohesion Policy needed to be established in time, taking into account that Serbia was expected to become an EU member in the following financial period. The Commissioner was informed about the significant level of utilization of cross-border cooperation funds in AP Vojvodina, success in the implementation of macro-regional strategies, as well as of the beneficiaries’ needs for greater project grants, which was expected from the Cohesion Policy. The Commissioner expressed her wish to visit the projects funded under the Romania-Serbia Cross-Border Cooperation Programme, which was assessed as successful. Vojvodina supported the further simplification of the Cohesion Policy and a balanced approach to funding regional needs in Europe, with special emphasis on joint work to ensure security, because it was observed that private investments coming into regions less developed than the EU average, after an investment from the Cohesion Policy, did not have significant influence on the degree of redistribution of added value, which lead further to migration and emptying of certain regions, and thus put a migratory pressure on developed regions and caused potential security problems.

The Commissioner reiterated that she was aware of the complications related to the implementation of the Cohesion Policy, that her aim was tangible results and that the procedures should not distract us from the ultimate goal. “We have to be flexible, both in the operation and priorities and the refugee crisis will also be financed from the Cohesion Policy, just as all other challenges that Europe will face in the future”, added Commissioner Cretu. She underlined that in the forthcoming period she expected further cooperation with regional partners and defined relations on equal basis. She underlined that there was clear cooperation with the CoR and AER, that it was important to have good management of the Cohesion Policy, which was to have visible effects on the well-being and life of the citizens of Europe.