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Expenditure implementing projects co-funded by European Structural Funds to be excluded from the deficit. The Conclusions of the 52nd COSAC meeting
Senato della Repubblica

Public expenditure to implement projects co-financed by the European structural funds should be "completely excluded" from the definition of public deficit and the ensuing obligations under the Stability and Growth Pact, because this spending is aimed at "achieving the goals of Europe 2020 and supporting competitiveness, growth and job creation, especially where youth employment is concerned" (§1.6), according to the Contribution adopted today in the Senate in Rome by the 52nd Cosac, the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union.

Cosac expresses "full support" to the Commission's plan to mobilize 300 billion Euro in additional public and private investment over the period 2015-2017. This plan however - the Contribution warns - "could not be sufficient on its own to achieve the goals enshrined in the Europe 2020 Strategy" (§1.5). Consequently, the parliamentarians gathered in Rome request that an increase of resources earmarked for the implementation of the Strategy be considered on the occasion of the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.

Cosac calls for "concrete policy actions" and welcomes the establishment of a task force, led by the Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) , in charge of identifying the actions needed to boost growth. It is essential - the Contribution reads - to support the aggregate demand while making use of the flexibility clauses set out in the Stability and Growth Pact, at least by the Member States who are able to do so (§1.3).

An important part of the Contribution adopted today focuses on the Role of the European Union in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe (§3). Over the last twenty years, the Contribution notes, "rightful and necessary" emphasis was placed on the EU's Northern and Eastern enlargement. However, it is now "essential to re-establish the strategic priority of the Union's Southern border", through greater visibility of the Union and credible provision of assistance to our regional partners, in the framework of a sound neighbourhood policy, with particular emphasis on supporting domestic reforms, strengthening democratic institutions, promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and involving the civil society (§3.2).

COSAC is the only inter-parliamentary cooperation framework specifically envisaged by the Treaties. Its 52nd meeting has just ended. It started yesterday, December 1st, with a welcome address by Senate President Pietro Grasso. Its sittings were presided over by the chairpersons of Italy's Senate and Chamber EU policies Committees,Vannino Chiti and Michele Bordo. Italy's President of the Council of Ministers Matteo Renzi, Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, European Affairs Junior Minister Sandro Gozi and the EU Commission's First Vice President Frans Timmermans were the main speakers.