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A Cohesion Policy for all regions

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op woensdag 30 mei 2018.

Commission adopts the first sectoral legislative programme to be financed by the next long-term EU budget from 2021 to 2027; State of play of trade talks with the US

Regional development and Cohesion Policy beyond 2020

Today's College meeting marked the start of the presentation of the sectoral legislative proposals for the programmes to be financed by the next long-term EU budget from 2021 to 2027.

As a first initiative, the Commission proposed to modernise Cohesion Policy, the EU’s main investment policy and one of its most concrete expressions of solidarity. More sectoral initiatives will be presented over the next two weeks.

The goal is to drive up economic and social convergence while helping regions harness fully globalisation and equipping them with the right tools for robust and lasting growth. With today's proposals all regions remain eligible for Cohesion Policy funding in Europe, still on the basis of three categories: less-developed, transition and more-developed regions.

With a budget of €373 billion in commitments for 2021-2027, the future Cohesion Policy has the investment power to help bridge these gaps. Resources will continue to be geared towards regions that need to catch up with the rest of the EU the most. At the same time it will remain a strong, direct link between the EU and its regions and cities.

The bulk of European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund investments will go towards innovation, support to small businesses, digital technologies and industrial modernisation. It will also go to the shift towards a low-carbon, circular economy and the fight against climate change, delivering on the Paris Agreement.

Regions still lagging behind in terms of growth or income - mostly located in the South and East of Europe - will keep benefiting from important EU support. Cohesion Policy will continue investing in all regions, as many of them across Europe - including in richer Member States - struggle to achieve industrial transition, fight unemployment and hold their own in a globalised economy.

To reduce disparities and help low-income and low-growth regions catch up, GDP per capita remains the predominant criterion for allocating funds. In addition, new criteria aim at better reflecting the reality on the ground - youth unemployment, low education level, climate change and the reception and integration of migrants. As regards the Cohesion Fund, the method is unchanged: Member States whose GNI per capita is below 90% of EU average will benefit from the Cohesion Fund.

The Commission also proposed to make the rules less complex in the next long-term EU budget, with less red tape and lighter control procedures for businesses and entrepreneurs benefiting from EU support. The proposal foresees one set of rules which will cover 7 EU funds implemented in partnership with Member States. This will make life easier for EU funds programme managers.

The new framework also combines the stability necessary for long-term investment planning with the right level of flexibility in order to cope with unforeseen events. A mid-term review will determine if changes in the programmes are needed for the last 2 years of the funding period, and limited transfers of resources within EU funds programmes will be possible.


Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström debriefed Members of the College on the state of current talks with the US, that aim at obtaining a permanent and unconditional exemption for the EU from the US tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The College also reiterated its endorsement to the envisaged EU reaction in case such exemption would not materialise by the upcoming deadline of 1 June and provided Commissioner Malmström with a clear mandate with a view to defending the Union's interests and the international trade law.

Depending on developments this week, the College may come back to the issue in next week's meeting.

In parallel, as also decided by the College on 7 March, the Commission should continue engaging with the US in other trade-related processes, notably in the framework of the trilateral process on level playing field issues with the US and Japan, which aims to address some of the root causes of the current tensions in the trading system, including China’s trade distorting practices.

Related links

Audiovisual Material

Photo report - College meeting

Press Material

Press release

Regional development and Cohesion Policy beyond 2020: Questions and Answers

Legal texts and factsheets:

  • Regional development and cohesion: the new framework at a glance
  • A more tailored approach to regional development
  • A simpler and more flexible framework for Cohesion Policy
  • A stronger link with the European Semester and the Union's economic governance
  • More opportunities for synergies inside the EU budget

More information on the EU budget for the future can be found here

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