The European Union consists of 274 regions with a very different economic and social situation in-between them. The European Union Horizon 2020 Strategy aims to reduce these differences, by investing in economic growth, job creation and competitiveness.
This summer the European Union has published its sixth report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion. It can be downloaded from this link.
The European Unions Cohesion Policy investments from 2014-2020 makes more than €38 billion available to support the shift to a more environmentally-friendly economy, through investments for energy efficiency and renewables, while up to €33 billion will support Europe’s SMEs to become more competitive.
The Report analyses the state of cohesion of the Union and highlights the challenges faced by national, regional and local authorities in overcoming the impact of the financial and economic crisis. It finds that the cohesion policy has helped to reduce the dramatic decline in national public investment that we experienced by the austerity policies implemented to reduce national spending during the crises, and it has created a financial stability that serves to attract private investment to Europe´s regions.
In cities, the impact of the crisis is most evident, the report says. While cities are engines of growth and innovation, they are also where unemployment, poverty and social exclusion are concentrated. The report emphasises that new cohesion policy rules therefore provide for at least 20% of investment from the European Social Fund in strengthening social inclusion and combating poverty. More generally, the report stresses the need to give cities a stronger voice in cohesion policy programmes. One way to do so will be through the Integrated Territorial Investment platform (ITI), which we wrote about recently on this blog.
The EU Cohesion policy is described in the brief video below.