While ETUC understands that this approval was urgent, in order to start the next programming period on time, at the same time it is deeply concerned by the final decisions made on the European Social Fund (ESF), as well as the macroeconomic conditionalities in cohesion policy.
The final compromise is far from being a “fair deal”, as requested by the European Parliament in more than 18 months of negotiations. Furthermore, the method of vote that was imposed by the presidency on the whole package, without any possibility to consider amendments, was undemocratic and demeaning to the role of parliament.
Concerning the ESF, the minimum share of 23.1% of the cohesion envelope that was agreed corresponds to merely €71 billion in the 2014-2020 period. This means a €7 billion reduction in comparison with the current ESF envelope.
This is unacceptable to ETUC, because it will be definitely insufficient to tackle each of the ever-increasing demands placed on the ESF for example, the Youth Employment Initiative supporting the Youth Guarantee, EURES network, food for deprived people instrument, and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.
ETUC is completely against macroeconomic conditionalities and the application of sanctions on structural funds relating to the Stability and Growth Pact, without a strong role of control of the European Parliament. The result will be the impoverishment of the EU population, which run contrary to the basic principles of economic, social and territorial cohesion policies as reaffirmed in the Lisbon Treaty.