On 12 September, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Vleva organized a public information and consultation session on the cohesion policy in the context of the multi-annual financial framework 2021-2027. More than 60 organizations and companies were represented.
In May the European Commission presented its proposals for the new cohesion policy after 2020. EU cohesion policy aims to reduce the differences in prosperity between regions and Member States and stimulate the development of the entire EU in the long term. Also for Flanders cohesion policy is of great importance.. After all, also Flemish companies and organizations can apply for European grants for, among other things, the promotion of the knowledge economy or the development of the circular economy.
During the session, representatives of cities indicated that their role in shaping and implementing cohesion policy could be strengthened. It was also emphasized that cross-border cooperation should remain possible. Furthermore there were questions about the role of the European Social Fund Plus in the pursuit of social inclusion.
Karel Boutens, advisor economy and innovation at the Cabinet of Minister Muyters, shared the Flemish Government's assessment of the Commission proposals. The government emphasized the importance of a focus on innovation (including the Vanguard initiative) for the European Fund for Regional Development and the need to further focus Interreg on areas with European added value. The Government also believes that cooperation with the United Kingdom must be continued. The Flemish Government would like the European Social Fund Plus to be more defined as a labor and employment instrument through which Flemish challenges, such as deploying "work ability", can be tackled.
The Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs also organizes an online survey on the future cohesion policy. After closing the online survey on 20 September, the department will prepare a report of the consultation and submit it to the Government.