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The European Commission's 6th Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion published today shows that EU Cohesion Policy is delivering on the growth goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy by creating jobs and reducing disparities across Europe.
Looking ahead to 2014-2020, the report outlines how investments will be focused on key areas like energy efficiency, employment, social inclusion and SMEs to get the most of the investments to the benefit of citizens.
The Report analyses the state of cohesion of the Union and highlights the challenges faced by national, regional and local authorities in overcoming the impact of the financial and economic crisis. In particular it finds that Cohesion Policy has cushioned the dramatic decline of public investment, injecting much needed investment resources in many Member States and creating vital financial stability which serves to attract private investment.
Solid results can be seen from investments under EU Cohesion Policy in 2007-2013. Figures so far (up to end of 2012) - show the creation of around new 600,000 jobs, support to 80,000 new businesses, 5 million citizens gaining access to broadband and 3.3 million people with an improved supply to drinking water. Furthermore, 5.7 million jobseekers were helped into work and a further 8.6 million supported to obtain qualifications.
Investments under the current financial round, 2014-2020, are expected to go even further with much more focus on key sectors such as the low-carbon economy, SME competitiveness, innovation and employment and social inclusion. EU Cohesion Policy investments will make more than €38 billion available to support the shift to a more environmentally-friendly economy, through investments for energy efficiency and renewables – this compares to €16.6 billion invested in the low-carbon economy for 2007‑2013. According to the spending plans and "Partnership Agreements" of Member States up to €33 billion (an increase of nearly €10 billion) will support Europe's SMEs to become more competitive. More than €80 billion will be invested in human capital through the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative.
The Commission is also launching a new Cohesion Policy open data platform to support the reinforced results focus, to increase transparency and to promote debate on the performance of Cohesion Policy funding. Users can explore Report data with a range of interactive maps and charts and submit comments.