The members of the European Parliament are expected to vote today Tuesday on a special provision whereby the EU would pay up to 85% of project costs in Cyprus until the closure of the 2014-2020 programmes.
They will also vote on plans to prolong a 10% increase in the EU contribution towards project costs in Greece until 30 June of the year following the end of its economic adjustment programme.
It is noted that Article 24 of the Common Provisions Regulation allows the EU Commission to make increased payments under European Structural and Investment Fund (ESFI) programmes- so-called “top-ups” – to countries experiencing economic difficulties.
As their national budgets cannot cope with the required national co-financing of agreed projects, they run the risk of losing EU funds altogether, at times when they need it most.
In the explanatory statement, it is noted that the financial and economic crisis has put pressure on national economies and Member States have undertaken austerity measures to balance their budgets.
It is also pointed out that Cyprus has the status of a more developed region in the current cohesion policy and it would in normal circumstances receive 50% co-financing for the ERDF and ESF programmes. But, as Cyprus has been experiencing economic hardship and declining investment over a long period, it was granted a higher co-financing rate of 85% between 1 January 2014 and 30 June 2017.
It is clear that increased co-financing would have a positive effect on the Cypriot economy since this would reduce the sums devoted to national co-financing and thereby support fiscal consolidation and investment efforts, it adds.
The Commission has accordingly decided to propose that the period of eligibility for Cyprus for the co-financing rate of 85% will continue until the closure of the 2014-2020 programmes. This will give Cyprus more time to balance its budget and at the same time run ERDF and ESF projects in a successful manner.
The rapporteur, MEP Iskra Mihaylova, welcomes the Commission`s proposal as a focused and budgetary-neutral solution to the temporary liquidity problems faced by two member states, Cyprus and Greece, and recommends that the EP at plenary stage take over the Commission proposal without amendment.
In addition, today, they will vote on the EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage,a resolution which includes a series of references on Cyprus and the recently found hydrocarbon reserves in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Moreover, the EP will debate on the EU Commission’s to-do list for 2017.
It is noted that this year’s debate on the Commission Work Programme will contribute to the first-ever joint declaration, to be signed by the Presidents of Parliament, Council and Commission in December, on common objectives and priorities for the following year.
They will also vote on a resolution to update the EU`s long-term financial plan to cope with unforeseen crises.
In addition, they will also call upon the EU Commission to set up a binding mechanism to report annually on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in all EU member states.
Commissioner Pierre Moscovici is set to present the Commission’s new corporate tax proposals in the plenary chamber on Tuesday afternoon. The package will include, inter alia, a proposal for a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB).