Evaluations assess the evidence for impacts of Cohesion Policy, as well as providing lessons for the future. For example, Objective 1 spending in the 2000-2006 period created an estimated 570,000 net jobs – of which 160,000 in the new Member States.
Each programme under the Structural Funds is evaluated: Member States, regions and the European Commission assess evidence for the impact of cohesion policy. Success is measured in terms of indicators such as additional growth and productivity, jobs created and reduction in pollution.
The Commission is undertaking a large scale ex post evaluation of the 2000-2006 period. Themes covered include: globalisation, enterprise, innovation, gender, demography, transport and the environment. Results are being published on this website. Early findings include:
- In Hungary, initial evidence suggests that €6.5 million assistance to the investment plans of some 127,000 SMEs resulted in €18.5 million increase in assets, as measured relative to a control group. This means a leverage of 1.8 euros of private money for every euro of Structural Funds.
- In Spain, investments in the road system saved an estimated 1.2 million hours of travel time a year.
- Many programmes sought to bring a stronger focus on sustainability. For example, continued investment in the Athens metro further reduced traffic congestion and pollution. 8 new stations were financed together with 17 trains.
- In Spain, an investment of around €4 billion on over 13,000 RDI-based projects, nearly 100,000 researchers participating in projects, support for over 1,000 technology and research centres and the co-financing of most of the present 64 Spanish technology parks.
- Case studies of interesting projects. They focus on problem solving techniques and form a useful basis for identifying good approaches and exchanging experience across regions.
For the future, macro-economic models estimate up that the Structural Funds will create up to 2 million net extra jobs by 2015. They also estimate that the Structural Funds will contribute an additional 5-6% on GDP in the new Member States by the end of the programming period.
First results from evaluations of the 2007-2013 period will be presented in the Commission's Strategic Report to the Council in 2010.