EU Cohesion policy: study calls for a strategic focus on quality projects and on removing administrative barriers to investments

Additional tools


The Commission published a study that aims to enhance the understanding of the planned and implemented use of Technical Assistance (TA) at the initiative of Member States during the 2014-2020 period. The report assesses the capacity of the administrations of Member States and regions to prepare, manage and implement Cohesion policy projects as well as to remove important barriers to investment.  

The study confirms the need for a more strategic and comprehensive approach, encompassing a wide range of actions and actors, also by taking into advantage of the new instruments proposed by the Commission for the new programming period 2021-2027. The study finds that effective use of TA for administrative capacity building depends on the existence of well-founded, coherent and forward-looking strategies, and on good governance underpinned by a learning culture. 

In particular, the study calls on the national and regional authorities to ensure more leadership and coordination, involvement and strengthening of the competencies of all relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries, invest in long-term learning and development strategies to build knowledge and skills of their staff. Moreover, the study contains a very useful compendium of good practices in the different areas. The recommendations contained in the report are in line with the European Commission’s strengthened focus on strategic capacity building of the new EU funding instruments and initiatives of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027 and Next Generation EU. Finally, the study stresses the need for Member States to work on capacity building along with broader administrative reforms. 

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Cohesion policy is at the heart of recovery for a more sustainable and resilient Europe. Good governance and sound institutions are conducive to growth and economic development. Member States and regions should think strategically about strengthening their capacity to plan and implement public investment, involving key stakeholders and taking advantage of the green and digital transition.” 

The Commission also made available a practical toolkit, which administrations can use to better prepare for future investment programmes.

In addition to current investments in an efficient public administration, up to 4% of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds can be used for technical assistance in helping national and regional authorities to effectively implement EU-backed investments. Support is given to administrative structures involved in the management of the Funds but also for actions designed to reduce the administrative burden for beneficiaries, reinforce the capacity of beneficiaries and of relevant partners. Finally several initiatives are put in place, among others, the TAIEX REGIO PEER 2 PEER learning platform, programmes for professional training, citizen engagement, Integrity Pacts, Just Transition Platform. More information on administrative capacity building in the framework of the EU cohesion policy in the brochure and in the data story. 

For More information 

Final Report - The use of technical assistance for administrative capacity building in the 2014-2020 period