Investing in jobs and growth – Maximising the contribution of the European Structural and Investment Funds
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With a budget of EUR 454 billion for 2014-2020, the European structural and investment funds1 (ESIFs) are the European Union’s (EU’s) main investment policy tool.
By 2023, the ESIFs will deliver a critical mass of investment in key EU priority areas, to respond to the needs of the real economy by supporting job creation and by getting the European economy growing again in a sustainable way. For example, the Member States have committed to the following:
- More than 2 million enterprises will be supported across the funds to increase their competitiveness, develop products, find new markets and create new jobs.
- Investment in infrastructure will help Member States to improve peoples’ lives and the competitiveness of their business environment. This is especially the case for the less developed Member States, who will be able to catch up with the more developed ones. Better access to quality broadband and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services and improved water supply for tens of millions of Europeans are just a few examples of what the ESI Funds are expected to achieve.
- Crucially, the Funds will invest in the skills and adaptability of Europe’s workforce, giving tens of millions of people, including young people, opportunities to (re)train or start businesses. Such opportunities will also be available for refugees and legal migrants.
The post-crisis period has provided additional motivation for reforming the way the ESIFs are planned and used. In a climate of declining overall investment, maximising the ESIFs’ impact is a top priority, especially as they provide the majority of public investment in many countries. Reforming the ESIFs has led to more emphasis on results, funding being more focused, and investments based on better strategic planning and capacity to deliver. The ESIFs are now a forward-looking investment policy tool, ready to tackle the challenges facing Europe today and in the years to come.
The ESIFs contribute to the Investment Plan for Europe and complement the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in several ways: by leveraging public and private investment, supporting structural reforms, and improving access to funding. The ESIFs will make a substantial contribution to the new Commission’s political priorities: the digital single market, the energy union and climate change policies, the single market and economic governance, in line with the European Semester country-specific recommendations. All ESIF investment ultimately targets boosting jobs, growth and investment across Europe, with a focus on the least developed areas. They also contribute to addressing together shared challenges and exploiting common potential via territorial cooperation and the macro-regional strategies.
This Communication presents the main results of negotiations between Member State authorities and their partners, including regional and local actors, and the European Commission, on their investment programmes further to the ESIF reform. It responds to the requirement of Article 16(3) of the Common Provisions Regulation and includes details on each Member State in Annex II.
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