On 2 February 2018, the ministers responsible for Cohesion Policy representing the Visegrad 4 (V4) governments and Croatia met in Budapest, where they released a Joint Statement on the agreed cornerstones of Cohesion Policy after 2020. The governments highlighted the role of EU Cohesion Policy for economic development and achieving convergence. Against this background, the V4 and Croatia are willing to consider to increase the total amount of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) above 1 percent of EU GNI.
Additionally, the V4 and Croatia call for more flexibility in addressing local and regional socio-economic challenges, while strengthening the thematic concentration of ESIF programmes. Regarding ESIF programme management, the statement calls for more simplification. Programme implementation and audit shall be based on partnership, subsidiarity, continuity and mutual trust. In that respect, the V4 and Croatia propose to introduce grants.
In terms of outreach of ESIF programmes, the V4 and Croatia are convinced to maintain the eligibility of all regions in the European Union, while less developed regions and member states should remain the main focus of Cohesion Policy.
Last, but not least, the statement highlights the role of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) for scaling-up territorial cohesion.