Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2013-01-14-Speech-1-130-000"

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"Madam President, I am pleased to see that the Commissioner is here. I was particularly pleased to have been given the chance to do this report because I believe that cohesion policy is vital for all regions of the European Union and, of course, it is vital that we have adequate funding for cohesion policy in the next MFF. But, in addition to funding, it is also vital that we have in place the right regulations for cohesion policy to allow us to create jobs and growth. I therefore particularly welcome the proposals from the Commission on the regulations and particularly welcome the proposals for a common strategic framework for five of the major funds. I believe this will allow improvements to the effectiveness of EU funding, improvements to simplification for applicants and also greater or easier access for applicants to a range of EU funds. However, it seemed to me at the time the regulations were first proposed that there was a lack of detail on how we could actually create some mechanisms to bring these five funds together. We have got some proposals on a partnership agreement, some proposals on multi-level governance, proposals on a code of conduct, community-led development, joint action plans and integrated territorial investments. I believe that these are all good ideas and that we should welcome all of them, but we need some mechanisms to allow all these things to happen to bring together the funds, as I explained earlier. Therefore I consulted with a large number of stakeholders from right across the European Union. I held a round-table discussion with stakeholders, practitioners, people from regions and local authorities who deal with Structural Fund programmes on a day-to-day basis, because I believe they know what we should be doing in terms of EU funds for the future. This round table was particularly useful. At it we were able to explore some mechanisms for bringing together the funds at a local and regional level. One good example was Wales. Of course you would expect me to give that as an example. The intention in Wales is to create a single portal post-2014 where we have a single application, payment and monitoring process, almost a one-stop-shop for applicants and for the managing authority as well. Another good example was the Netherlands, where funds from a number of programmes are to be devolved to local authorities, allowing them to create packages of EU funds to fund projects in their particular locality. A third good example is in Greater Manchester in the UK where they have a proposed model for an ITI which will allow integrated funding from a number of EU and other sources, so, for example, they will propose an infrastructure project using ERDF money, while maybe using ESF money to train the people to actually carry out that particular project. Greater Manchester is currently working on that as a proposal for post-2014. Of course there will be other examples from regions right across the European Union. I believe what we should be doing is collecting these ideas, collecting this good practice and finding some ways of exchanging this good practice right across the European Union. Therefore, Commissioner, I hope you will take that on board as a firm proposal to come out of this own-initiative report so we can find ways and mechanisms of actually putting these good ideas into place, allowing local authorities and regions to bring these five funds together to fund major projects in the future. I believe that is the best way to use these funds and the best way for us to make sure we reach our Europe 2020 targets. I believe that is the best way for us to improve and increase economic prosperity in our regions right across the European Union."@en1

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