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.

2007-2013: Focus on growth and jobs

“I am convinced that European Cohesion Policy is well set to meet the challenges lying ahead. The most important asset, as I believe, is the system of multi-level governance, based on accountability and partnership. This system which, on one hand, fosters economic efficiency and development through the co-operation between the European, national and regional levels, on the other, firmly anchors the policy in the Union's territories and hearts of its citizens.”

Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy since 2004


The highest concentration ever of resources on the poorest Member States and regions, the inclusion of all regions, and a shift in priorities set to boost growth, jobs and innovation, these are in a nutshell the major changes of EU Cohesion Policy during the current period. In the EU of 27 Member States, one in three EU citizens - 170 million in total – now live in the poorest regions which receive assistance under the "Convergence" objective. Economic and social disparities have significantly deepened with recent enlargements. In terms of per-capita income, Luxembourg is now seven times richer than Romania. At the regional level, the difference is even bigger: the richest region is Inner London with 290% of the EU-27’s per-capita income, while the poorest region is Nord-Est in Romania with 23% of the EU average. The European Council agreed in December 2005 on the budget for the period 2007-2013 period and allocated €347 billion on Structural and Cohesion Funds of which 81.5% are planned to be spent in the "Convergence" regions. Based on simplified procedures, nearly all of the 436 programmes covering all EU regions and Member States were agreed before the end of 2007. The radical shift in their priorities means that a quarter of resources is now earmarked for research and innovation and about 30% on environmental infrastructure and measures combating climate change.