Documents considered by the Committee on 21 November 2018 Contents

2EU structural funds post-2020

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; but scrutiny waiver granted; drawn to the attention of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Document details

(a) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the Cohesion Fund, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and financial rules for those and for the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument; (b) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the European Regional Development Fund and external financing instruments.

Legal base

(a) Articles 177, 322(1)(a) and 349 TFEU, Ordinary legislative procedure, QMV; (b) Articles 178, 209(1), 212(2) and 349 TFEU, Ordinary legislative procedure, QMV

Department

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Document Numbers

(a) (39801), 9511/18 + ADD 1, COM(18) 375; (b) (39811), 9536/18 + ADD 1, COM(18) 374

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

2.1The EU’s European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds5 aim to reduce economic, social and regional disparities across the EU, and to address the impacts of migration. In line with proposals for EU financing—the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)—from 2021 until 2027 inclusive, the Commission has proposed revised rules governing the ESI Funds for that period.

2.2The UK does not expect to participate in the Funds over the period 2021–27, with the possible exception of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes, health elements of the European Social Fund and the asylum and migration-related programmes.

2.3We set out further details on the proposals in our Report of 5 September6 and we reported again on the ETC programme on 17 October.7 The ETC goal of the ESI funds (otherwise known as “Interreg”—inter-regional cooperation) is a long-established strand, designed to promote regional cooperation across borders within the EU. It includes the PEACE Programme, specifically designed to support cooperation across the Irish border.

2.4The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Lord Henley) has written8 to explain that the Council may be invited on 30 November to agree a partial general approach on these proposals. This will centre on two aspects of the draft regulations: how ESI funds are to be structured and governed; and how they are to be monitored. While these are technical matters, the Government would like to be able to support the texts in order to send a positive signal to other Member States regarding the UK’s continued commitment to the PEACE Programme under the next MFF. The Minister therefore asks the Committee to waive the proposals from scrutiny to allow the Government to support any partial general approach tabled for agreement at the 30 November Council.

2.5The Minister had previously written9 to us providing no new information to that contained in his original Explanatory Memorandum and re-asserting the Government’s position on future participation in the ESI funds and on the future relationship with the EU. In our response,10 we noted the position that the UK would no longer pay “vast sums into the EU budget” but observed that this rules out neither some payments—whether or not tied directly to UK participation in a specific programme—nor payments directly to Member States to assist with structural policy.

2.6We are content to waive these proposals from scrutiny in order that the Government can support a partial general approach at the 30 November Council meeting. Our earlier requests for information on the progress of negotiations and on progress in determining future UK engagement remain outstanding and we look forward to receiving that information in due course. The proposals remain under scrutiny. We draw this chapter to the attention of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

Full details of the documents:

(a) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the Cohesion Fund, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and financial rules for those and for the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument: (39801), 9511/18 + ADD 1, COM(18) 375; (b) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the European Regional Development Fund and external financing instruments: (39811), 9536/18 + ADD 1, COM(18) 374.

Previous Committee Reports

Document (a): Thirty-seventh Report HC 301–xxxvi (2017–19), chapter 2 (5 September 2018). Document (b): Fortieth Report, HC 301–xxxix (2017–19), chapter 1 (17 October 2018); Thirty-seventh Report HC 301–xxxvi (2017–19), chapter 3 (5 September 2018).


5 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund Plus (ESF +), Cohesion Fund (CF), European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), Asylum and Migration Fund, Internal Security Fund and the Instrument for Border Management and Visa.

6 Thirty-seventh Report HC 301–xxxvi (2017–19), chapter 2 and chapter 3 (5 September 2018).

7 Fortieth Report, HC 301–xxxix (2017–19), chapter 1 (17 October 2018).

8 Letter from Lord Henley to Sir William Cash, dated 5 November 2018.

9 Letter from Lord Henley to Sir William Cash, dated 13 September 2018.

10 Letter from Sir William Cash to Lord Henley, dated 17 October 2018




Published: 27 November 2018