The EU has revamped its regional aid policy leaving national programmers nervous about the more rigorous rules designed to put a halt to the redundant motorways and superfluous airports of previous years.
Very much influenced by the economic crisis, now in its sixth year, the cohesion policy (2014-2020) has a new more stringent feel.
The revamped policy - which at €325 billion accounts for a third of the 7-year EU budget - is due to be agreed by the European Parliament in November.C'est l'argent. El dinero. Das Geld.
Cohere us? If you do, we'll fix that;
A commission official, meanwhile, underlined the extent to which the economic crisis is affecting the approach to the policy.
“Be strategic. What result do you want to achieve, by, let’s say, 2020. And try to choose indicators which are explainable to the common citizen,” said Jose Palma Andres from the commission’s regional department.
“Even if you can’t quantify the result you can at least qualify it. And explain it. This is the new approach.
Otherwise it is very difficult to explain in this very tough period of financial resources everywhere that we are spending the money but we don’t know for what,” he added.Actually that seems to be an art form for Eurocrats.
Marko Ruokangas, programme director for the Finnish region of Oulu, admitted that strategic thinking may have been missing in the past: “We were not so good in that in existing programmes.”
“And now is the time to discuss that,” he said, referring to the preliminary stage of programme preparation with the European Commission that is due to go on until at least the end of the year.Because the gift of gab is cheap, and it's someone else's dime.