History of the policy
1957 - 1987
1988 - 1992
1988 - to adapt to the arrival of Greece (1981), Spain and Portugal (1986), the Structural Funds were integrated into an overarching cohesion policy, introducing key principles:
- focusing on the poorest and most backward regions
- multi-annual programming
- strategic orientation of investments
- involvement of regional and local partners
- Budget: ECU 64 billion
1994 - 1999
- 1993 - the Maastricht Treaty introduced three novelties:
- 1993 - creation of the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance
- 1994-99 - the resources for the structural and cohesion funds were doubled, to equal a third of the EU budget.
- 1995 - a special objective was added to support the sparsely-populated regions of Finland and Sweden.
- Budget: ECU 168 billion
2000 - 2006
- 2000 - the 'Lisbon Strategy' shifted the EU's priorities towards growth, jobs and innovation. The priorities of cohesion policy were shifted to reflect this.
- 2000-04 - pre-accession instruments made funding and know-how available to countries waiting to join the EU
- 2004 - ten new countries joined (increasing the EU's population by 20%, but its GDP by only 5%).
- Budget: €213 billion for the 15 existing members; €22 billion for the new member countries (2004-06)
2007 - 2013
- 2007: Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union
- 2013: Croatia joins the European Union
- Simplified rules and structures
- Emphasis on transparency and communication and an even stronger focus on growth and jobs are key elements of the reform
- Key investment areas (25% has been earmarked for research and innovation, and 30% for environmental infrastructure and measures to combat climate change)
- Budget: €347 billion