The European institutions are currently discussing a suspension of European Structural and Investment Funds for Portugal and Spain in 2017. This procedure was automatically launched as Spain and Portugal were deemed to not have taken sufficient action to adhere in time to EU fiscal rules, previously agreed by all parties.
According to the legislation in place, the European Commission has to propose to the European Council a suspension of up to 50% of ESIF for 2017 for these two countries. The European Council will then decide on the appropriate amount. The European Parliament is involved as a structured dialogue partner, in other words in a consultation process. More information on the procedure can be found here.
Following this news and concerns expressed by Spanish and Portuguese members, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) initiated a campaign with two important networks of European networks (Social Services Europe & the Social Platform), contacting Members of the European Parliament to inform them about the importance of structural funds for the financing of quality social services, with an obvious impact on the quality of life of those most disadvantaged. The Joint Letter is available in english as well as EASPD's Press Release.
The Joint Letter was well received by Members of the European Parliament. Last week, Members of the European Parliament in the Regional Development Committee and the Economic Affairs Committee called on the European Commission to propose no suspension of funds for Portugal and Spain arguing that it would harm their most vulnerable people, regions and their economy.
On 16 November, the European Commission agreed with EASPD's and the EUropean Parliament's position and proposed no suspension of structural funds for Portugal and Spain, as they were deemed to have made sufficient efforts regarding policy reforms to attain fiscal objectives
EASPD will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that this becomes the reality.
If any EASPD member, partner or friend receives important information on this issue, please contact Thomas Bignal, +32 2 233 77 23