EU Cohesion Policy: new report highlights that a cohesive development of regions is key for the EU’s growth agenda

The Commission has adopted a report on regional trends for growth and convergence in the EU showing that Europe has experienced a significant dynamic of upward convergence over the last 20 years. For instance, in terms of GDP per capita, by 2021 less developed regions experienced an increase from 51% to 62% compared to the EU average. The report complements the analysis of the Member states’ economies of the Country Reports published by the Commission on 24 May. It also highlights several regional asymmetries and how to best address them. Some Member States show regional disparities in access to basic public services such as education or public transportation especially in rural areas. Moreover, disparities in labour market outcomes (i.e., employment and unemployment rates), competitiveness, research and innovation, digital and energy efficiency are also still present in some regions.

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira said: “The analysis published today highlights that a cohesive and sustainable development of EU regions is key for economic prosperity, social welfare, and the competitiveness of the whole EU. Tackling disparities through place-sensitive policies builds resilience and inclusive growth and strengthens the EU’s single market. Cohesion Policy funds are of paramount importance in this endeavour and a major player in the economic governance of the EU budget.”

To address the regional imbalances while fostering the unfulfilled potential of less competitive regions and sub-regional territories, together with instruments such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility, today’s analysis highlights the importance of the targeted action under EU Cohesion policy in the years ahead. Cohesion Policy is key for supporting reforms and growth-enhancing investments in people and businesses. The combination of the peaking implementation of the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy programmes (EUR 405 billion) in parallel to the launch of the 2021-2027 programmes (EUR 378 billion) provides a continuous stream of investment in people and businesses. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Cohesion Policy programmes have disbursed more than EUR 186 billion to increase resilience and boost social and regional convergence.

(For more information: Stefan de Keersmaecker – Tel.: +32 2 298 46 80; Veronica Favalli – Tel.: +32 2 298 72 69)