Regional policy and the financial 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 are currently receiving special macro-economic assistance, the so-called 'programme countries' (Ireland, Romania, Latvia, Portugal and Greece). This should help to speed up the release of EU funding and make additional advance payments.
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.
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.