The Commission adopted a new Regional Policy programme for the Italian region of Campania, worth over €4 billion, with more than €3 billion coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). As for all programmes adopted for the 2014-2020 period, investments under the Campania programme are strategically focused on four key growth-generating areas: research and innovation, digital technologies, support to small businesses and to the low-carbon economy.
As "Campania" was the last ERDF "Investment for Jobs and Growth" programme left to be adopted for 2014-2020, this adoption officially marks the beginning of the implementation phase of the new programming period.
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "I am glad to have adopted all the ERDF Operational Programmes for 2014-2020; we now have solid, performance-oriented investment packages in place to help regions and cities reach the EU goals of growth and job creations. Now it is up to the regions and cities to implement the programmes on time, select quality projects and ensure an efficient and strategic use of the funds on the ground."
The expected results of the 2014-2020 programmes and their contribution to EU objectives of growth and jobs, to the Investment Plan and to the Commission's priorities over the decade will be disclosed and detailed in the Communication on "Investing in jobs and growth – maximising the contribution of the European Structural and Investment Funds" that will be issued on 14 December. It will also include the outcomes of the negotiations with all the Member States on the Partnership Agreements and programmes and the main challenges per country.
As an efficient implementation is crucial to achieve the programmes' expected results, lessons from the past period need to be learnt: this is one of the purposes of the Task Force for Better Implementation which, one year after its launch, has demonstrated the success of its methodology. Working in close cooperation with the national authorities and encouraging the exchange of good practices, the Task Force has helped the concerned Member States make the best use of their 2007-2013 EU funds allocations while paving the way for a smooth implementation in 2014-2020.
The reformed Cohesion Policy for 2014-2020 is a fully fledged EU investment policy. The new Regulation established the obligation for clear and measurable results. Member States and regions had to set in the programmes the objectives they intended to achieve and regular monitoring of the progress made towards these goals will be carried out throughout the implementation phase.
With a 2014-2020 budget of almost €200 billion, the European Regional Development Fund aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the EU while actively contributing to the Commission's priorities; all the ERDF "Investment for Jobs and Growth" programmes are now adopted while the last European Territorial Cooperation ("interreg") programmes are well advanced and should be adopted by the end of the year.
The Task Force for Better Implementation is part of a broader initiative to improve how Member States and regions invest and manage Cohesion Policy funds, set by Commissioner Corina Creţu.
This initiative also focuses on helping building administrative capacity in Member States and regions, on reducing territorial disparities and helping slower growth regions to catch up and finally, on assessing the uptake of simplification measures and identifying further possibilities to simplify rules.