Brussels, 13 July 2006
Today in Brussels, Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner and Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment Social Affairs and Equal opportunities set out a strategic vision for the new generation of European programmes for the period 2007-2013. The first of two documents, a draft proposal for a Council decision on Community Strategic Guidelines for Cohesion policy, establishes the priorities for investment under the new programmes in accordance with the European Union's growth and jobs agenda agreed by the Member States in 2005. The second document presented is a Communication on the specific contribution of cities to growth and jobs. In this communication, the Commission offers tools for an integrated urban policy, on the basis of the needs of cities, urban areas and regions.
"In short, we are proposing a new, modern Cohesion Policy for a new Europe of prosperity, growth and quality employment", said Commissioner Hübner. She added: "Both documents are the outcome of a particularly transparent and democratic procedure where all parties involved were consulted. These documents confirm the Commission's intention to ensure that cohesion policy is the most important financial instrument at Community level for the growth and jobs agenda".
'The Commission will ensure that its spending priorities correspond to the priorities of its 'Jobs and Growth' strategy,' said Vladimír Špidla, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. 'The European Social Fund (ESF) in particular will support more explicitly than ever re-skilling projects and projects to avoid labour market fragmentation. As the EU faces the challenges of globalisation, population changes and enlargement, investing in people will be of crucial importance. Our investment in our workers' skills, in education for our young and old, and our support for the unemployed to help them to help themselves, will create the picture of tomorrow's EU.'
The new ESF regulation specifically calls for a concentration of resources on Community objectives in the area of the European Employment Strategy, including the relevant employment-related objectives in the field of social inclusion, education, and training. There also be a major focus on not just 'more jobs', but 'better jobs', with the Fund making major contributions to promoting equal opportunities for all, fighting discrimination and encouraging social dialogue.
Danuta Hübner pointed out that the Commission's proposals come only days after the European parliament approved the regulations for cohesion policy 2007-2013 (see IP/06/924). "Thanks to close cooperation on all sides, the main elements will very shortly be in place so that Member States and regions can move ahead with confidence to prepare the new programmes", she said.
The Community Strategic Guidelines contain the principles and priorities of cohesion policy and suggest ways the European regions can take full advantage of the € 308 billion that has been made available for national and regional aid programmes over the next seven years. National authorities will use the guidelines as the basis for drafting their national strategic priorities and planning for 2007-2013, the so called National Strategic Reference Frameworks (NSRFs).
According to the guidelines and in line with the renewed Lisbon strategy, programmes co-financed through the cohesion policy should seek to target resources on the following three priorities:
improving the attractiveness of Member States, regions and cities by improving accessibility, ensuring adequate quality and level of services, and preserving their environmental potential;
encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship and the growth of the knowledge economy by research and innovation capacities, including new information and communication technologies; and
creating more and better jobs by attracting more people into employment orentrepreneurial activity, improving adaptability of workers and enterprises and increasing investment in human capital.
The Guidelines seek to provide a balance between the twin objectives of the growth and jobs agenda and territorial cohesion. Thus, it is recognised that there can be no question of a “one size fits all” approach to the new programmes.
The Communication “Cohesion Policy and cities: the urban contribution to growth and jobs in the regions” is also designed to help national, regional and city authorities in the preparation of the new round of Cohesion Policy programmes. Its main purpose is to amplify and complete the Community Strategic Guidelines by elaborating and strengthening the urban dimension.
In the latter communication the Commission notes that there is no single path
to sustainable urban development. Actions can take various forms depending on
the particular characteristics and needs of urban areas. Suggested interventions
include building the attractiveness of cities, increasing networking between
cities, reinforcing the role of cities as poles of growth, promoting
entrepreneurship, innovation and the knowledge economy, supporting
SMEs, decreasing disparities between neighbourhoods and social groups, and
tackling crime and the fear of crime.
More information about the Community Strategic Guidelines for Cohesion policy available at:
More information about the communication on cohesion policy and cities at: