Last week the European Council approved the Mechanism that regulates the destination of Recovery and Resilience funds. FOES, CEOE CEPYME Cuenca and CEOE Teruel wanted to take the opportunity to address this issue with representatives of the Parliament and the European Commission.

Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, February 19, 2021. The CEOEs of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, creators of the Network of Southern Sparsely Populated Areas (SSPA) Network met with representatives of the Parliament and the European Commission at object of commenting on the progress of European policies and funds, and proposing tools capable of reversing the imbalance between the most unpopulated territories and the big cities.

The intense week of telematic meetings has included a meeting with the Spanish MEPs, Isabel Garcia, Mazaly Aguilar, Cristina Maestre and with the cabinets of the MEPs Susana Solís and Isabel Benjumea, and a videoconference with the person from the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, who deals with territorial development policy and state aid, Carole Mancel-Blanchard.

For the CEOEs of Cuenca, Soria and Teruel, it is essential that these rounds of contacts serve so that, through community policies and European funds, responses are given to the needs of sparsely populated areas with serious and permanent demographic disadvantages. . For this reason, the Employers’ Confederations have made known to the representatives of the European institutions, who will have an important role in the different phases of approval and execution of the projects, their proposal regarding the Recovery and Resilience Plan ‘5 for rural’ , as a comprehensive project that can serve as an example for the rest of the unpopulated rural territories of both Spain and Europe.

In addition, the contacts have served to follow up on the previous meetings held with the European deputies in the last quarter of 2020, dealing with other fundamental issues for these areas such as progress in the approval of the regulations of European funds, especially the ERDF , and state aid, which could mean a reduction of 20% to Social Security for companies in these territories.

On the part of Carole Mancel-Blanchard, during the meeting it was highlighted how depopulation is one of the Commission’s priorities and therefore, the different steps taken, such as the future Financial Framework and the cohesion policy of 2021, were discussed -2027, in addition to those to come, which include the Strategy for the long-term vision of rural areas. The head of the Cohesion and Reform Cabinet has recognized the possibilities offered by rural areas to the problems caused by congestion in cities, such as congestion in urban areas, the price of housing and quality of life. In addition, she has highlighted the work carried out by entities such as the SSPA Network for the construction of a future for these areas.

Recovery and Resilience Mechanism

The meetings took place after hearing the approval of the Council, last week, of the Regulation that establishes the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, the central axis of the EU Recovery Plan. The Regulation, which has been published in the Official Gazette, aims to face the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, promote ecological and digital transitions, and build more resilient and inclusive societies.

Member States will receive Recovery and Resilience funds based on their national recovery and resilience plans, which are currently in preparation. Subsequently, the Member States have until April 30 to present their plans to the Commission and then the Commission will have a maximum period of two months to evaluate the plans and, later, the Council will have four weeks to take its decision regarding the approval of each plan.