The regional policy, also called cohesion policy, pursues the general goal of reinforcing economic, social and territorial cohesion between regions in Europe. It aims at supporting the creation of employment and the competitiveness of companies, economic growth, sustainable development and lastly the improvement of life quality for European citizens.

Almost a third of the European Unions’ total budget is used to finance the cohesion policy between 2014-2020. The cohesion policy is financed through three major funds: the European Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund (FESR) and the European Social Fund (FSE). These funds, combined with the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), constitute the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). Each of the above-mentioned funds contributes to realise European growth objectives, which are defined by the Europe 2020 Strategy. These objectives include research and innovation, digital technologies, SMEs, environmental sustainability, employment, social inclusion, education and training. The funding of the cohesion policy is closely related to the flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy, especially with the Digital Agenda, Innovation Union, new skills and employment. The priorities of these resources are indicated in partnership agreements at national level. National objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy are listed in national reform programmes, which are developed annually and evaluated in the context of the European Semester.

Macro-Regional Strategies

The Macro-regional strategies are new areas of the cohesion policy. A macroregion is a specific geographic area, which includes the territory of a certain number of countries and regions that dispose of one or more common geographical, cultural, economic or other characteristics. Macroregions enable to address issues which cannot be tackled by individual countries or regions, such as environmental challenges. They also enable the support for these interregional cooperations. The European Commission has adopted four macro-regional strategies since 2009. One of them is the EU Strategy for the Alpine Regions (EUSALP), which was adopted in 2015.

Useful links:

European Commission – Regional policy

European Parlament – Regional Development Committee (REGI)

Committee of the Regions - Commission Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER)



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