Impact and results of Cohesion Policy

Cohesion policy is one of the European Union's most visible policies. All 27 EU countries benefit from cohesion policy through its three funds - the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Social Fund – to:

It also helps Europe's 271 regions to tackle the challenges posed by globalisation, climate change and demographic trends.
Funding from cohesion policy has brought benefits to millions of EU citizens, not only by creating jobs and fostering the right conditions for growth, but also by investing in infrastructure modernisation, environmental improvements, support to business, and in people's skills, education and training.

A snapshot of achievements

Capturing the impact and results of cohesion policy is critical to its ongoing success. Letting the public know what is achieved with the investment from the policy is key to its transparency and accountability. It also offers the opportunity to learn from good practice elsewhere, and to continuously improve projects and programmes.
(all data relates to period from 2000 to 2006)


Impact on the economy

Rapidly increasing income in the poorest regions: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in the EU's least developed regions (the so-called Objective 1 regions) grew from 66% of the EU-25 average in 2000 to 71% in 2006

Creating additional jobs: an estimated an estimated 1.4 million jobs were created, around 1 million of which in enterprise.

Helping to reduce regional disparitiesPDF en: In levels of development between the most and least developed regions – the index of disparities fell by roughly a sixth thanks to sustained high growth in the less developed regions


Impact on the environment

Improving the environment : Cohesion Policy made an important contribution to help regions comply with EU environmental standards. For example, 20 million more people have been connected to modern water supply systems, 23 million more people have waste water treatment deenfr

More sustainable programmes: Half the Member States included indicators and targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into their Cohesion Policy programmes for the 2007-2013 period


Impact on transport infrastructure

Modernising transport links : Cohesion policy funded 4700 km of motorways and 1200 km of high speed rail. deenfr

This means that 77% of motorways in the Cohesion Countries, and some 56% of high speed rail. were co-financed by cohesion policy.

As a result, average motorway density in Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal went from 90% of the EU15 average in 2000 to 111% in 2006. The challenge remains in the EU10, where motorway density stands at 35% of the EU15 average. deenfr


Impact on enterprise

Supporting business development : 230,000 SMEs received financial support (mainly grants but also loans and venture capital) and a further 1.1 million received advice and support for networking, leading to an estimated 1,000,000 jobs created at the EU level. deenfr


Impact on research

Investing in research and innovation : Nearly 38,000 research and development projects received support with the creation of over 13,000 new long term research jobs pdf en


More impact and results...

These country factsheets provide an overview of some of the key achievements of Cohesion Policy, the main priorities for investment for 2007-2013, and summary information on territorial co-operation programmes:

Evaluations and reports

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