Key rules and regulations for implementing EU cohesion policy in 2014-2020 were endorsed during the Plenary Session of the EP on Tuesday 20 November. MEPs secured substantial funding for EU regions to invest in their development projects.
"Member states and regions will be able to focus more closely on the impact of programmes and projects and worry less about administrative technicalities", said Regional Development Committee chair and Parliament’s lead negotiator on cohesion policy Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL). "The five funds covered by the general regulation form the central investment framework of the EU budget. Cohesion funds will be changing from a compensation or transfer-based approach into a targeted investment instrument based on knowledge, sustainability and jobs", said co-rapporteur on the key Common Provisions regulation Lambert van Nistelrooij (EPP, NL).
The reformed cohesion policy introduces three new elements to make it more effective and oriented towards clear results:
- funding of projects concerning research and development, innovation, SME support, energy efficiency and renewable energies, poverty reduction, the fight against unemployment and job creation.
- member countries will have to clearly identify what objectives they want to achieve with the available funding and how to measure progress towards those aims.
- Introducing for the first time conditions that member countries and regions must meet before they receive the funds. The mechanism can trigger the suspension of funds in the event of a macroeconomic imbalance or an excessive budget deficit.
Commissioner Hahn said that the Parliament’s vote cleared the way for member states and regions to prepare for the new strategies and programmes, which will mobilise the 325 billion euro of EU resources. The total reaches more than 500 billion euro when the national contributions of member states are taken into account.
This news is of particular interest to EUREKA since this area has become a priority of the network since the Hungarian chairmanship and the Ministerial Conference held in Budapest confirmed that exploring the regional dimension of EUREKA has a high potential and great importance for the future financing of EUREKA activities. Furthermore, the role of EUREKA a natural partner in the design and implementation of structural funds for innovation components for 2014-2020 is clearly acknowledged. EUREKA is presently considering ways to better link macro-regional strategies of the EU being developed or implemented and other initiatives with a regional focus, such as 'Regions of Knowledge'.
Read the official press release of the new cohesion policy for growth and jobs here.