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Regional policy and the financial crisis

Regional policy supports the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, and plays an important role in the EU's response to the current economic crisis

Since 2008, regional policy has adapted to changing needs and harsher financial conditions.

Quicker delivery of funding

The Commission has been working with EU countries, particularly those that who have received or are currently receiving special macro-economic assistance, the so-called 'programme countries' (Ireland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece).

Increased co-financing rates

Co-financing rates for programme countries have been increased by 10%, which reduces the national contribution at a time of budget constraints.

Simplification of procedures

Several regulatory changes have been made to simplify procedures and provide more flexibility (e.g. for state aid, major investment projects as well as an opening of eligibility for energy efficiency and energy saving in the housing sector). 

The amendments to the Regulations are available in the Legislation section of this website.

Modification of programmes

In several countries, a re-programming of funds has taken place, to facilitate EU investment in specific sectors which will absorb funding and yield results.

Priority projects in Greece

The Commission and Greek authorities have drawn up a list of over 180 strategic growth-enhancing projects. Deadlines have been set to ensure that valid projects worth a total €11.5 billion (EU and national funding combined) will be implemented by the end of 2013, creating between 90.000 and 108.000 new jobs.

Access to finance for small businesses

Small companies can now use EU Structural Funds as a guarantee to gain access to credit, allowing investment in enterprises at any stage of their normal business activity and not only at establishment or expansion.

Tackling youth unemployment

The European Commission is working with the EU countries that have the highest youth unemployment rates (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Italy and Latvia) to ensure that EU regional funding is used effectively to take youth unemployment.

Technical assistance

Bulgaria and Romania have signed Memorandums of Understanding with International Financial Institutions to offer technical assistance to national experts, in order to speed up the absorption of funds.

EU Regional Policy: Stay informed