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General Affairs Council

Volume 631: debated on Tuesday 21 November 2017

A meeting of the General Affairs Council (Cohesion) was held in Brussels on 15 November 2017. The UK was represented by Rory O’Donnell (Counsellor for Regions, Agriculture and Fisheries) from the UK permanent representation to the European Union.

The General Affairs Council focused on an exchange of views based on the 7th report on economic, social and territorial cohesion; and on updates on the modification of the common provisions regulation.

Modification of the commons provisions regulation

The Estonian presidency provided an update on proposed changes to the common provisions regulation (the overarching EU regulation which governs the European structural and investment funds). These are expected to be in place before our withdrawal from the EU and were proposed by the Commission as part of the mid-term review of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) in order to simplify and harmonise existing regulations.

7th report on economic, social and territorial cohesion

The Council discussed conclusions from the cohesion report, which assesses the EU’s cohesion policy in recent years and recognises the need for greater visibility in its implementation. This report called for further simplification and flexibility in the period beyond 2020. A discussion between member states on the themes raised in the report was held. Member states particularly focused on efforts for simplification and harmonisation, on the principle of national co-financing and on the rule of law.