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The Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch, chairedthe informal meetings of EU Ministers for Regional Planning and Urban Policy in Luxembourg on 26 and 27 November 2015, in the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU. The regional cohesion of Europe was a crucial point of discussion at the meetings. It means finding solutions to the very unequal development of European regions and cities over the past decades – a trend which has grown with the economic and financial crises, as François Bausch explained during the press conference that followed the meetings on 27 November 2015. In his view, one of the more glaring consequences of the loss of EU cohesion is the unequal response to the migration crises.
In the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, François Bausch, will chair the Informal Ministerial Meetings on Territorial Cohesion and Urban Policy that will take place on 26 and 27 November 2015 in Luxembourg. Ministers will discuss on 26 November concrete actions to support territorial cohesion and their impact on overall growth and development. On 27 November, the Ministers responsible for Urban Policy will address how to support small and medium-sized cities as places of attraction and providers of essential services – from a general and a cross-border perspective.
On 18 November 2015, Camille Gira, Secretary of State for Sustainable Development chaired the General Affairs Council dedicated to issues related to EU cohesion policy. The Council adopted three sets of conclusions: simplification of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF); 25 years of European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg); and the contribution of the ESIF to the shift towards a low-carbon economy. The Council agreed on the possibility for Member States to make use of Interreg to respond to challenges due to the migration crisis.
The School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme and the School Milk Scheme are currently separate programmes under which EU aid is allocated to member states. In January 2014, the Commission presented two proposals merging the schemes and amending the new Single Common Market Organisation (single CMO) regulation under the reformed Common agricultural policy (CAP) (5958/14) and the regulation fixing certain aids and refunds (6054/14). Following the examination of the proposal in the Council, on 12 October 2015 the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) granted the Presidency a mandate to enter the first trilogue with the European Parliament on this proposal. The first trilogue took place on 20 October. The main issue at the time was the legal basis of the proposal, on which the mandate prepared for the 2nd trilogue shows some opening. At the end of the 2nd trilogue on 11 November, while recalling its attachment to reach a positive conclusion of this issue, the Presidency deems that it is appropriate to wait before setting the date of the next trilogue. It considers that further informal contacts in the meantime will allow to clarify some elements discussed and will facilitate those negotiations to resume efficiently as soon as possible.