MEPs backed simplified rules for the use of EU regional funds to address the consequences of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The Regional Development Committee opted for a faster, “simplified procedure” without amendments to approve the proposed FAST-CARE (Flexible Assistance for Territories) regulation further increasing the flexibility in the use of EU cohesion policy funds in response to Russia´s war in Ukraine.
Regional development MEPs believe it is important to act as soon as possible and help EU governments and regions dealing with the war’s impact quickly.
EP rapporteur Niklas Nienaß (Greens/EFA) said:
“In the face of Russian aggression, Europe has to respond fast and determinedly. The European Parliament has recognised the need for urgent action. With FAST-CARE, cohesion policy will help Ukrainian refugees and enable European cities, municipalities and the economy to mitigate direct and indirect consequences of this terrible war. We checked the proposal diligently to ensure that this emergency package will not come at the expense of necessary long-term investments. Cohesion policy is the best tool for a strong, just and united Europe. We will make sure it can fulfil this role.”
Once Parliament confirms the committee’s position at the 3-6 October plenary session, the draft legislation will need to be formally approved by member states before entering into force on the day after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
FAST-CARE rules further simplify procedures for the use of financial resources by member states to address the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The new rules provide for additional pre-financing worth €3.5 billion in 2022 and 2023. Given refugees may change location several times, the location requirement was removed. Member states are now allowed to declare expenditure for already-implemented projects related to the needs of refugees and they can also, until mid-2024, get 100% EU financing for projects promoting socio-economic integration of third country nationals. For these projects, at least 30% of the amount must be granted to local authorities and civil society organisations operating in local communities. The proposal will also help with the implementation of investments threatened by supply and workforce shortages.