Committee says a cap on absorption of EU cohesion funds is not acceptable


On Wednesday, 16 November, the European Affairs Committee agreed to draft a declaration that will call on the European Union (EU) to reject the planned cap on absorption of EU cohesion funds. The Committee also might evaluate whether the distribution of cohesion funds proposed by the European Committee complies with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and, if necessary, together with the parliaments of other member states call to correct it.

Today the European Affairs Committee approved Latvia’s position on the proposed EU Cohesion Fund Regulation for 2014-2020. It is emphasised in the position that Latvia does not support the European Commission’s proposal to cap the absorption of EU cohesion funds by introducing the so-called absorption ceiling at 2.5% of the recipient country’s GDP. The MPs supported the government’s stance according to which this artificially imposed limitation could have a devastating impact on the development of Latvia’s economy.

“Latvia is among champions with regard to cohesion fund absorption; therefore, there are no grounds to claim that introduction of such a ceiling is necessary due to member states’ inability to fully absorb the allocated funds,” said Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Chairperson of the Committee.

She emphasised that it is important to actively explain Latvia’s position to the EU partners in order not to lose the EU’s cohesion funding for Latvia’s roads, infrastructure and human capital because this funding is crucial for our economy. “Therefore, in the coming days we plan to adopt a declaration that will call on the European Commission to revoke the ceiling for absorbing cohesion funds,” said Kalniņa-Lukaševica.

At the same time, the European Affairs Committee considers verifying whether the proposed distribution of EU cohesion funds complies with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. If there will be doubts about compliance with either of these principles, the Saeima will submit a reasoned opinion to the European Commission. According to the Lisbon Treaty, at least nine national parliaments have to submit their reasoned opinions in order to have their positions taken into account during the drafting of EU legislation.

The Lisbon Treaty gives national parliaments greater opportunities to supervise the drafting of EU legislation by conducting subsidiarity and proportionality checks. The national parliaments may decide whether the purposes for drafting EU legislative acts can be fulfilled at a lower level, namely, by the national laws. They may also assess whether the legislative initiatives of the EU do not go beyond what is necessary to achieve their objectives. 

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