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Cohesion Policy to deliver the Europe 2020 Strategy (2014-2020)

Cohesion Policy to deliver the Europe 2020 Strategy (2014-2020)

 

SUMMARY OF:

Communication (COM (2015) 639 final) — maximising the contribution of European Structural and Investment Funds

Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — economic, social and territorial cohesion

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE COMMUNICATION AND OF ARTICLE 174 TFEU?

The communication outlines the main results of the negotiations between EU countries, their partners, and the European Commission on the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds partnership agreements and programmes.

It follows on from Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 which introduced several key reforms to the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) programmes for 2014-2020. The key underlying EU objective has been to reduce the economic and social disparities between diverse regions through its cohesion policy, using ESI Funds to deliver the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The progress report summarises information on:

  • project selection,
  • achievements, and
  • delivery mechanisms of ESI Fund programmes

based on an analysis of the first year of implementation of the reforms.

Article 174 TFEU provides that, in order to strengthen its economic, social and territorial cohesion, the Union is to aim at reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the backwardness of the least favoured regions or islands.

KEY POINTS

By 2023, more than 500 ESI Funds programmes are expected to provide more than €637 billion of investment in EU countries for long-term sustainable growth and a better life for their citizens, with the following revised priorities to:

  • be more effective in improving the lives and working opportunities of EU citizens;
  • improve the investment climate for private and public investment;
  • focus on good governance and boost administrative capacity;
  • support and provide incentives for structural reforms;
  • bring EU citizens together and improve their social and economic living conditions through international cooperation;
  • show a readiness to adapt to changing circumstances, such as the refugee crisis;
  • focus on results;
  • further increase the use of financial instruments, such as loans, equity and guarantees, instead of traditional grants;
  • in addition make full use of other funding sources such as Horizon 2020 where appropriate.

The ESI Funds programmes represent a major part of public investment and every region and country in the EU benefits from them. It focuses on 4 key growth-generating sectors:

  • research and innovation;
  • digital technologies;
  • support for the low-carbon economy;
  • support for small businesses.

In line with the European semester and EU country-specific recommendations, ESI Funds investments aim to establish the right conditions for quality projects to flourish, to promote good governance and improve public administration for businesses to thrive. They also aim to improve people’s everyday life, all leading to a new start in Europe, with an improved legal framework for 2014-2020 — delivering high quality investments as part of the reform.

The communication presents the expected achievements of the programmes in each EU country.

Progress report

  • By late 2016, almost €130 billion had been invested in small businesses, research, broadband, energy efficiency and thousands of other projects focusing on the EU’s growth and jobs priorities as part of the Europe 2020 strategy.
  • The aim of doubling the use of financial instruments in ESI Funds investments was almost reached at the end of 2015.
  • Plans were made for evaluations to be carried out to provide a clearer picture on programme performance over time, in line with the EU budget focused on results initiative.
  • The report calls for the new programmes to speed up across the whole EU, with good quality projects and effective implementation to deliver on the investment goals and expected socioeconomic benefits. EU countries are asked to present evidence of expenditure to the Commission more promptly so that the budget can be better managed.
  • These achievements and the progress of each programme can be followed through the ESI Funds Open Data Portal.

BACKGROUND

See also:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Communication from the Commission — Investing in jobs and growth — maximising the contribution of European Structural and Investment Funds (COM(2015) 639 final, 14.12.2015).

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Three — Union policies and internal actions — Title XVIII — Economic, social and territorial cohesion — Article 174 (ex Article 158 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 127)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020 — 2016 Summary Report of the programme annual implementation reports covering implementation in 2014-2015 (COM(2016) 812 final, 20.12.2016)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — The Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative three years on (COM(2016) 646 final, 4.10.2016)

Regulation (EU) 2015/1017 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2015 on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Investment Project Portal and amending Regulations (EU) No 1291/2013 and (EU) No 1316/2013 — the European Fund for Strategic Investments (OJ L 169, 1.7.2015, pp. 1-38)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2015/1017 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Green Employment Initiative: Tapping into the job creation potential of the green economy (COM(2014) 446 final, 2.7.2014)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 215/2014 of 7 March 2014 laying down rules for implementing Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund with regard to methodologies for climate change support, the determination of milestones and targets in the performance framework and the nomenclature of categories of intervention for the European Structural and Investment Funds (OJ L 69, 8.3.2014, p. 65-84)

See consolidated version.

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 240/2014 of 7 January 2014 on the European code of conduct on partnership in the framework of the European Structural and Investment Funds (OJ L 74, 14.3.2014, pp. 1-7)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, pp. 320-469)

See consolidated version.

Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM(2010) 2020 final, 3.3.2010)

last update 16.05.2018

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