President of the Committee of the Regions, Vasco Ilídio Alves Cordeiro© European Union / John Thys

Regional Signal

Local Leaders back increased Ukraine Budget, but concerned over cohesion


Local and regional leaders have expressed their support for the proposal to increase the European Union’s budget to aid Ukraine’s recovery from the war. They view Ukraine’s reconstruction as a European necessity and a moral duty.

However, they also caution against the risk of undermining territorial cohesion through a more centralized management of EU funds.

Members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) discussed the mid-term review of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) with Commissioner Johannes Hahn. The review aims to provide new financial resources to address current and future crises, such as the conflict in Ukraine and natural disasters.

While welcoming the proposed €50 billion Ukraine Facility for reconstruction, local and regional leaders emphasize the importance of Europe-wide coordination and decentralization in the recovery process. They appreciate the recognition of local development in Ukraine’s reconstruction.

Despite supporting investments in critical sectors like digital and clean technologies, leaders express concerns about the potential centralization of EU funds through the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP). They fear this could undermine social, economic, and territorial cohesion.

The President of the CoR, Vasco Alves Cordeiro, highlights the importance of a strong Cohesion Policy, ensuring citizens’ strong sense of belonging to the European project. Local and regional authorities call for more funds allocated directly to cities and regions with less bureaucracy.

Commissioner Hahn emphasizes the need for joint efforts to effectively address unpredictable challenges, support Ukraine, manage migration, and boost competitiveness.

Additionally, leaders welcome the proposed €2.5 billion increase in the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve to respond to natural disasters.

The opinions of local and regional leaders will contribute to the MFF mid-term review and the Ukraine Facility proposal’s further development in collaboration with the European Parliament and EU Member States. The European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine plays a crucial role in coordinating efforts for Ukraine’s recovery.