On 10 July, the EP committee on Regional Development adopted compromises on the legislative package of the Cohesion policy, following discussions with the Council in the framework of the inter-institutional negotiations (known in EU jargon as the ‘Trilogue’).
The compromise on the common provisions for all EU funds sets the allocation for the European Social Fund (ESF) at 23,1% of the global Cohesion budget instead of the 25% proposed by the Commission and supported by the EP Employment and Social Affairs committee. Nevertheless, a clause has been added to ensure that Member States do not allocate less resources to the ESF in the next period than what they are currently doing. During a meeting of the EMPL committee the day before (9 July), both EP rapporteur on ESF Elizabeth Morin-Chartier (France/EPP) and a representative from the European Commission expressed their disappointment on the budget allocation, underlining that the fight against unemployment and poverty is a priority for the seven years to come.
In parallel, Member States are finalising their drafts of the partnership agreements to implement their national strategy related to the European Cohesion Policy and use of the structural funds, and have started the negotiations with the European Commission in order for their proposals to be approved. At the same time, regional authorities are preparing the operational programmes for each fund and each region.