In five chapters, this page provides an introduction into the history of EU Cohesion and Regional Policy

1957 - 1988        1989 - 1993        1994 - 1999        2000 - 2006        2007 - 2013

A more comprehensive publication, can be found in here and a power-point presentation is available here.

1994-1999: Consolidation and doubling the effort

“The quality of implementation is determined more and more by the quality of partnership. The success of cohesion policy on the ground depends on a workable partnership bringing together all those involved in economic development in a region. These include representatives of the ministries and elected local representatives, and representatives of the business world, trade unions, women, charity and voluntary organisations, and environmental associations, although I know that some government representatives may be wrinkling their noses at all this.”

Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner for Regional Policy 1995-1999


Agreed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992, the Treaty on the European Union and the revised Treaty on the European Communities (TEC) entered into force on 1 November 1993. In respect to Cohesion and Regional Policy, the TEC established a new instrument, the Cohesion Fund, and a new institution, the Committee of the Regions, as well as the introduction of the subsidiarity principle. In December 1992, the European Council decided on the new financial perspective for the period 1994-1999 and ECU 168 billion was set aside for the Structural and Cohesion Funds. This represented a doubling of annual resources and equalled a third of the EU budget. New Cohesion Policy regulations were adopted by the Council on 20 July 1993, which now included the Financial Instrument of Fisheries Guidance and the Cohesion Fund. The new regulations confirmed the policy’s key principles – concentration, programming, additionality and partnership – and kept the five existing objectives more or less unchanged. Some provisions were strengthened such as the involvement of other EU institutions, in particular the European Parliament, and the rules on partnership, evaluation and publicity. Upon accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden on 1 January 1995, an amending regulation defined a sixth Objective favouring the extremely low populated regions of Finland and Sweden and a financial allocation for the three new Member States.