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Commission proposes changes to the Structural Funds

2009/07/22

The Commission has today presented a proposal to change the structural funds in view of the economic crisis.

The Commission notes the unacceptable conditions that many Roma are living under in parts of the Union and proposes that it will be allocated special resources under the Structural Funds to improve living conditions in these areas. This is a positive proposal.

The Commission also proposes that member states should not have to co-finance projects financed by the Fund. It is true, as Commissioner Samecki says, that there is a great need to implement Structural Fund projects in the member states hardest hit by the economic crisis. This applies particularly to the countries benefiting from IMF loans. Jobs at these structural funds projects are particularly important in this difficult moment.

At the same time, it is important that projects are good and meaningful. The risk is that if there is no co-financing at all we will lose the quality of the measures. No country wants to use its own money on useless measures. This was an important reason why several countries said no to completely remove the requirement for Member States to co-finance investments when the issue was discussed at the European Council in June. For the Swedish Presidency, it is now urgent to find a balance between these two needs.

The Presidency will begin the reading of the proposal of the Commission in September.

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