The European Commission has today adopted 40 new programmes under the European Cohesion Policy to support economic development and social cohesion across the European Union. An additional 10 programmes will be adopted before the end of this month. Together, these 50 programmes will be worth more than 66 billion euro.
Thanks to these decisions, 266 Cohesion Policy programmes, worth more than 256 billion euro, have now been approved for the 2014-2020 budgetary period. These programmes are vital, performance-guided investments that have an important impact on people's everyday life. They help boost economic competitiveness, enhance research and innovation, promote entrepreneurship, tackle unemployment, fight social exclusion and support the shift towards a low-carbon economy in Europe.
Commenting on the adoptions, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “We are proud of these sound and forward-looking programmes. They focus on key measures to bring back trust and growth in Europe’s cities and regions: connecting people, skills and jobs. I wish the national and regional authorities every success in implementing these programmes as soon as possible and to ensure their positive impact.”
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, added: "The European Social Fund will contribute to creating better job opportunities for people in different parts of the EU. By promoting employment, particularly for young people, investing in education and skills, promoting social inclusion and improving public administration, the funding will improve the lives of many European citizens. The investments will also make an important contribution to the promotion of structural reforms to enhance the competitiveness of the European labour market in the Member States".
The Commission will adopt the remaining programmes as soon as possible. With a budget of 351,8 billion euro for a total of 387 programmes for the period 2014-2020, the European Structural Funds are the EU's main investment policy.
The European Regional Development Fund aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions.
The Cohesion Fund was set up to provide a financial contribution to projects in the fields of environment and trans-European networks in the area of transport infrastructure. It is intended for countries whose per capita Gross National Income (GNI) is below 90% of the Community average.
The European Social Fund supports more than 15 million people every year by helping them to improve their skills, facilitating their integration into the labour market, combating social exclusion and poverty and increasing the effectiveness of public administrations.
The Operational Programmes stem from the Partnership Agreements signed between the European Commission and each Member State for a period of seven years. They turn the strategic priorities contained in the Partnership Agreements into concrete actions. Each programme, whether it aims to support a specific sector in a Member State, to help a particular region or to promote cross border cooperation, has clearly-defined objectives, which correspond to the development needs and challenges identified locally.
With the recent adoptions and the remaining 10 to be done by the end of this month, Cohesion policy negotiations will have finished for 20 Member States (all, except the United Kingdom, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, Italy and Sweden).