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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 22 August 2014

European Commission adopts ‘Partnership Agreement’ with The Netherlands on using EU Structural and Investment Funds for growth and jobs in 2014-2020

The European Commission has adopted a "Partnership Agreement" with The Netherlands setting down the strategy for the optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds throughout the country. Today’s agreement paves the way for investing €1.4 billion in total Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020 (current prices, including European Territorial Cooperation funding and the allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative). The Netherlands also receives €607 million for rural development and €102 million for fisheries and the maritime sector.

The EU investments will help tackle unemployment and boost competitiveness and economic growth through support to innovation, training and education in cities, town and rural areas. They will also promote entrepreneurship, fight social exclusion and help to develop an environmentally friendly and a resource-efficient economy.

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are:

• The European Regional Development Fund

• The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

• The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

Commenting on the adoption, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn said: "Today we have adopted a vital, strategic investment plan that sets The Netherlands on the path to jobs and growth for the next 10 years. This Partnership Agreement reflects the European Commission and The Netherlands' joint determination to make the most efficient use of EU funding –Our investments must be strategic, according to the new Cohesion Policy- focusing on the real economy, on sustainable growth and investing in people. But quality not speed is the paramount aim and in the coming months we are fully dedicated to negotiating the best possible outcome for investments from the European Structural and Investment Funds in 2014-2020. Commitment is needed on all sides to ensure good quality programmes are put in place.”

On The Netherlands, Commissioner Hahn added: "This investment strategy builds on the important contribution The Netherlands is already making to help the EU meet its goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The Netherlands now has a firm base in this Partnership Agreement that covers all Structural and Investment Funds and gives strategic direction to future programmes that will serve as a lever for further developing the innovative potential of Dutch SME’s and help pave the way for a shift to a low-carbon economy, hence contributing to The Netherlands' overall competitiveness. The ESI Funds are helping Dutch regions and cities to face these challenges."

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor said:

"I wish to congratulate the Netherlands with the adoption of its Partnership Agreement. To further boost its employment rate, the Netherlands needs to tap into its unused labour potential. This means helping the most vulnerable groups such as the disabled and migrants, as well as young people and women, to integrate into the labour market. Therefore, I am particularly pleased that, after constructive negotiations, the Dutch authorities have decided to devote over 70 % of the European Social Fund in 2014-2020, in other words €361 million out of a total of € 507 million, to this objective. Labour integration pathways, (re)-training, and individual coaching will be the most prominent tools. €101 million, or 20 % of the ESF, will support enterprises and employees with the aim of creating a working environment that enables workers to stay active for longer."

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş said:

“The newly adopted Dutch Partnership Agreement represents a real step forward, as it successfully addresses rural areas' specific needs and indicates how to achieve the objectives set. I am delighted to see that improving sustainability, strengthening competitiveness and enhancing innovation are at the core of The Netherland's strategy for the development of the agricultural sector and rural areas. I welcome the fact that Dutch authorities have put emphasis on simplification and the development of innovation also targeted on energy, climate, environment and sustainability when preparing their 2014-2020 rural development programme. This will ensure that necessary means are concentrated on priorities and should make the implementation of the programme more effective.”

Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said:

"The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is about investing in the economic activities that will create jobs in local communities. The Commission very much welcomes that the Netherlands chose to focus on innovation: the country is one of Europe's leaders when it comes to innovation in ocean energy, deep sea mining, blue biotech and coastal protection. The Netherlands are also promoting innovative fishing techniques to make fishing more environmentally friendly. These sectors can unlock the sort of growth and jobs which Europe needs. And “Brussels” will not prescribe how every single cent should be spent:  those who know their craft, industry, and regions best should decide where and how the funding should be spent for a sustainable future."

All Member States have now presented their Partnership Agreements to the Commission. The adoption of these agreements will follow after a process of consultation.

More information:

MEMO on Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes

Cohesion Policy and The Netherlands

European Commission-The Netherlands Partnership Agreement and Summary

Contacts : Shirin Wheeler (+32 460 76 65 65) – Jonathan Todd (+32 4989 94107)

Roger Waite (+32 4989 61404) – Helene Banner (+32 4607 52407)


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