Shaping Transitions with Evidence

9th Conference on the Evaluation of EU Cohesion Policy
Porto, 16-17 September 2021

visual banner

Cohesion policy is the EU budget’s main investment policy. It targets all regions and cities in the European Union in order to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, and improve citizens’ quality of life. The COVID-19 crisis has shown once more the essential role of cohesion policy in helping Member States and regional authorities to respond quickly and flexibly to the health and economic crisis triggered by the pandemic helping the most affected territories, sectors and population. With its strong focus on performance, accountability and transparency in its investments, cohesion policy is at the forefront of the EU’s green and digital transitions that will shape the process of recovery and the future of Europe over the next decades.

The Conference will provide an opportunity to stress the importance of evidence-based policy in a fast-changing world, in view of the launch of the evaluation of cohesion policy’s 2014-2020 investments over the next year. It will provide a platform for discussing the methods used to assess the role of the policy under the different investment themes. It will also be the occasion to take stock of the evaluations carried out by the Member States and the Commission during the period 2014-2020.

In parallel to the conference, we will display an exhibition of posters on evaluations on cohesion policy programmes, carried out in the Member States, which will provide further opportunities for exchanging good practices and share experiences on methods and findings.

The conference is organised in the Alfandega Porto Congress Centre and will be held in a hybrid format, allowing participants who will not be able to travel to join via an online platform. We invite policymakers from EU Member States, managing authorities, evaluation experts, academics, civil society and other stakeholders from across Europe to join us in Porto for one and a half days of discussion and networking.

We warmly invite you to register on the registration platform.

Please note that due to Commission’s internal procedures, it is necessary to use an EU Login (ECAS account) to access the registration form. In case you do not have an ECAS account, you can create one. After successful login, you will be able to register to the Conference. After your registration is complete, you will receive an e-mail with acknowledgement of registration. A confirmation email will follow.

  • Organisation responsible: Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission
  • Contact: If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR REGIONAL AND URBAN POLICY, unit B.2. For this purpose, please send an E-Mail to:

Download the programme pdf

Thursday, 16 September 2021


10:00 – 10:30

Session 1 – Plenary: Opening



  • European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms

Welcoming address:

  • President of the Norte Regional Coordination and Development Commission, Portugal
  • President of the Agency for Development and Cohesion, Portugal



10:30 – 11:15

Session 2 – Plenary: The value of evaluation for a performance-oriented policy



  • European Court of Auditors
  • Regulatory Scrutiny Board, European Commission
  • Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission
  • Secretariat General, European Commission



11:15 - 11:45

Coffee break



11:45 – 13:00

Session 3 – Parallel workshops


Workshop 3A: European Green Deal

  • Evaluation findings in the area of climate and environment




Workshop 3B: A Europe fit for the digital age

  • Evaluation findings in the area of ICT




Workshop 3C: An economy that works for people: R&I, SMEs competitiveness

  • Evaluation findings in the area of research and innovation/competitiveness of SMEs



13:00 - 14:30




14:30 – 15:45

Session 4 – Plenary: How can evidence-based policy keep up with the fast-changing world?


Panel discussion:

  • European Commission, International organisations, Managing Authorities, Academia, Practitioners




15:45 - 16:15

Coffee break



16:15 – 17:30

Session 5 – Parallel workshops


Workshop 5A: An economy that works for people: the social dimension

  • Evaluation findings in the area of employment, education and social inclusion




Workshop 5B: Challenges and opportunities of MS evaluations (assessing the territorial dimension, disseminating the lessons learnt, measuring impact)  

  • Evaluation findings from the Member States




Workshop 5C: The use of data for evaluation

  • Data sources for evaluation and the links among them



18:30 – 23:00

Social event and networking dinner



Friday, 17 September 2021



9:45 – 11:00

Session 6 – Plenary: Evaluation: A compass for the transitions


Panel discussion:

  • European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms
  • Chair of the Committee on Regional Development, European Parliament
  • Minister of Planning, Portugal
  • Minister for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Slovenia
  • Vice-President, European Investment Bank
  • President, European Committee of the Regions




11:00 - 11:30

Coffee break



11:30 – 12:30

Session 7 – Plenary: Wrap-up and conclusions


Feedback from workshops:

  • Chairs/rapporteurs from the parallel workshops



  • Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission

Closing remarks:

  • European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms
  • Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Portugal