Debat Comité van de Regio’s

Door Andries Gryffroy op 2 juli 2020

CoR Plenary session June 30-July 2
Debate on the Economic Aspect of the COVID19 Recovery

Dear President,
Commissioner Breton,

There is no doubt that COVID19 crisis has shown the relevance of the regional dimension.  President of Regions, mayors have been at the frontline addressing the emergency and taking action to minimize health and economic impact on population.

1. Allocation criteria

However, the EU recovery plan seems to be mostly a matter for Brussels and central governments only. We in the European alliance group, believe that funds distribution within Next Generation EU must be fair not only at the national but also all the way to the regional level supporting regions that have been worst hit.

 If I take Flanders as an example. It accounts of 80% of exports of Belgium, has paid a huge price in terms of job losses and budget deficit. Yet the proposed distribution criteria would not capture the reality.

 What will you do Commissioner to ensure regional/territorial assessments are included in the distribution criteria for the Next Generation EU? How will you ensure that regions take active part in the dialogue?

 2. SMEs/Single Market

Second question relates to SMEs. Thousands of Smes have not survived the quarantine while thousands more require injections of liquidity to recover. They are the backbone of our economy, they are agile and they will be decisive to achieve the transition to more sustainable and digital economy.,We need to support them to avoid "foreign" shopping and eliminate existing barriers to single market

 Will the recovery solvency instruments improve the SME access to financing? What support can we expect for tourist activities in the short term as funding would only be available in 2021 …

 3. Brexit

And finally, Commissioner, let me address a third and final point

Besides COVID there is another external shock looming and for which we need to prepare: Brexit

Several regions across the EU will be heavily affected particularly the border and coastal regions, and SMEs with economic activity reliant on cross-border trading and fishing in the Northern Sea  (Flanders, predict a 2,6 % drop of GDP in case of hard Brexit).

How will the next MFF and the Next Generation EU Recovery instruments take into account the regional economic impacts of Brexit?

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