Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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CRII - 15.04.2020

Recommendations to better implement the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives
The European Commission has presented an important set of financial measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak: the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives (CRII and CRII+). These will capitalise on still unspent cohesion funds to contribute to the response to the coronavirus in EU Member States.

The CRII initiatives introduce more flexibility to allow Member States to use cohesion funds to buy medical supplies, as well as to finance economic and social support for SMEs and workers most impacted by the crisis.

These are steps in the right direction, but CRII and CRII+ can be further improved. CEMR President Stefano Bonaccini has sent a letter to the European Commission outlining our recommendations to ensure their implementation in Europe’s territories.

The letter emphasises in particular:
  • The rules of audits and control need to be drastically relaxed in order to allow Managing Authorities to make rapid and secure use of the new measures and spending possibilities opened by the CRII.
  • The European Structural and Investment Funds are not the most appropriate tool to answer a punctual crisis, they should rather be use to structurally strengthen the capacity of Member States, local and regional governments to protect public health and social and economic resilience.
  • The European Commission should come up with a proposal to specifically support local and regional governments. The current proposal is limited to unspent cohesion funds but in some Member States there are very few unspent funds and thus the proposal is not adapted to the actual impact of COVID-19.The transfer of funds between categories of regions should be solely motivated by high local or regional impact of the current health, social and economic crisis. Otherwise, there is a risk of re-centralisation by Member States.
  • The Commission should consider extraordinary measures for 2021 in order to ensure continuity of the response to the emerging economic and social challenges and co-legislators must promptly reach an agreement for an ambitious Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) that provides the necessary funds to dampen the effects COVID-19.
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