When I came into office, I made a promise. In front of worried members of the European Parliament and of the Committee of Regions, who were concerned that a delay in the adoption of pending Operational Programmes would have harmful consequences in their countries, I made the promise that we were going to adopt as many programmes as we possibly could before the end of 2014.
For three weeks, my team and I were focused on this goal and today, as we are approving the last programmes before Christmas, we can be proud of what we did. We adopted more than 100 programmes during the month of December!
Today, 148 programmes out of the 311 we have received are now adopted; 130 of them are Investment for Growth and Jobs programmes and 18 are European Territorial Cooperation programmes. These programmes concern investments under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund, for a total amount today of 132.4 billion euro. All of ERDF/CF programmes for 19 EU countries (France, Luxembourg, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden and Lithuania) are now adopted. Germany and Poland have now most of their programmes approved.
I'm also glad that we kept our promise not to sacrifice quality over speed. The adoption of an operational programme is a lengthy, thorough process, in order to achieve the best results with the interests of the citizens at heart. The investment programmes adopted so far are sound, consistent and resolutely forward-looking. They aim at boosting economic competitiveness, at supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy and multiplying investments in research, development and innovation. We should all be proud of these programmes which are going to have a manifest and substantial impact on the lives of the common people.
Having reached 148 adoptions before the end of the year represents a tremendous progress we can all be proud of. I want to stress how good and fruitful the cooperation was between the Commission and the national authorities during the discussions on these programmes; it is a very good omen for our collaboration for the coming years. I intend to keep this pace in early 2015, so we could start implementing these programmes on the ground as soon as possible.
Last, but not least, I want to thank my colleagues in DG Regio, some of which are pictured below, for their hard work and dedication that made this result possible.