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The EU’s Regional Policy. David Müller Alpeuregio summer school 2012. 1. Regional Policy – Cohesion Policy. Europe and its Regions History of Regional Policy in the EU Why Regional Policy? Terminology: Cohesion Policy/Regional Policy. Europa and its Regions.

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The EU’s Regional Policy

David Müller

Alpeuregio summer school 2012

1. Regional Policy – Cohesion Policy

  • Europe and its Regions

  • History of Regional Policy in the EU

  • Why Regional Policy?

  • Terminology: Cohesion Policy/Regional Policy

Europa and its Regions

271 Regions in Europe (NUTS 2 level)

  • Divergences in terms

    of wealth, competitive-

    ness, natural and demo-

    graphic challenges

  • Different political

    traditions on “regions”

  • “Europe of the


First ERDF Regulation 1975

Main aim of correcting regional imbalances due to:

  • predominance of agriculture

  • industrial change

  • structural unemployment

    Actions eligibleforupto 50% ofpublicexpenditure, (preferably in national stateaidareas):

  • investments in smallenterprisescreatingat least 10 newjobs;

  • investments in infrastructurerelatedtopoint1;

  • infrastructureinvestments in mountainousareas.

The Reform for the Period 2007–2013

  • Strategic Approach: Linking Cohesion Policy to the Lisbon Strategy

  • New architecture and streamlining of policy instruments

  • More room for manoeuvre for Member States

  • Simplification of management and control of structural policies


50 - 75

75 - 90

90 - 100

100 - 125

³ 125

Differences in development in the EU-27

GDP per head as a % of the community average

GDP per capita in PPS in 2006

Disparities across the European Union

*In US, this difference is only 2.5 and Japan 2

Regional Policy – Cohesion Policy

  • Structural Policy: Umbrella term covering all policies aiming at structural reforms on national and regional level.

  • Cohesion Policy: Policy of the EU to reduce the economic disparities between the regions using diferent funds, following shared management rules (TFEU Art. 174).

  • Regional Policy: Part of EU‘s Cohesion policy with the main instrumtents ERDF and CF (but not the ESF!).

Instruments of Cohesion Policy

Cohesion policy interventions through 3 main policy instruments:

  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF; based on Art. 176 TFEU; Regulation 1080/2006)

  • European Social Fund (ESF; based on Art. 162-164 TFEU; Regulation 1081/2006)

  • Cohesion Fund (based on Art. 177 TFEU; Regulation 1084/2006)

    Further legislation:

  • European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC; Regulation 1082/2006)

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio

European Regional Development Fund


  • Convergence Regions: GDP/capita < 75 % of the EU25-average.

  • Competitiveness Regions: GDP/capita > 75 % of the EU25-average

  • Phasing-in/Phasing-out as transitional provisions for former Objective-1 regions.

    Territorial cooperation

    Funding of a) cross-border, b) transnational and c) interregional cooperation and networks (e.g. “Urbact”).

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio

European Regional Development Fund

Scope of the funding:

  • direct aid to investments in companies (in particular SMEs) to create sustainable jobs

  • infrastructures linked to R&I, telecommunications, environment, energy and transport;

  • financial instruments to support regional and local development and to foster cooperation between towns and regions;

  • technical assistance measures

    Broader scope for Convergence regions (11 priorities).

European Social Fund

Support of the ESF for Convergence regions as well as for Competitiveness regions.

Scope of funding:

  • Adaptability of workers and enterprises

  • Access to employment for most vulnerable

  • Social integration of disadvantaged people

  • Enhancing human capital (special focus on education system in Convergence regions)

  • Promoting partnerships and stakeholder networks

  • Strengthening administrative capacities (conv. reg.)

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio

Cohesion Fund


MS with less than 90 % GNI/capita on national level (EU-12 + GR, PT, ES).

Scope of the funding:

  • trans-European transport networks, priority projects of European interest as identified by the Union;

  • Environment (including energy efficiency, renewable energy and transport projects outside of TEN e.g. public transport)

    Macro-economic conditionality (Art. 4).

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio

Management and Control

Management/control bodies on MS‘s level

  • Management authority: management and implementation of OP; annual reporting.

  • Certification authority: certification of payment requests and compliance of expenditure.

  • Auditing authority: independent authority responsible for auditing of each OP; annual reporting.

  • Monitoring committee: Stakeholder committee for each OP to monitor quality of implementation

EU Budet 2007-2013 (at current prices 2012)

Distribution of Budget. Overview

  • Convergence regions: 81.9%

  • Competitiveness regions: 15.7%

  • Territorial co-operation 2.4%

    Total budget €347bn, which will unlock up to €700bn of direct investment.

Convergence objective

(Regions > 75% in EU25)

Objective 'Regional

Competitiveness and Employment'

Geographical Eligibility

for Structural Funds Support 2007-2013

Convergence objective

statistically affected regions

Objective 'Regional

Competitiveness and Employment'

Phasing-in regions,

"naturally" above 75%

Index EU 25 = 100

Adaptability of workers and firms

Social inclusion

Capacity building

Technical assistance

Fields of Investment

European Regional Development Fund

and Cohesion Fund (€271 billion)

European Social Fund (€76 billion)




Human capital


Information society


Social infrastructure



Institutional capacity

Regions eligible for cross-border cooperation

Territorial co-operation

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio

European Territorial Cooperation

  • Eligibility

  • Cross-Border Cooperation: NUTS 3 level regions are eligible, along all the land-based internal borders and some external borders, along maritime borders separated by a maximum distance of 150 km (1,8 % of budget).

  • Transnational Cooperation: all the regions are eligible but, in consultation with the Member States, the Commission has identified 13 cooperation zones (0,5 % of budget).

  • Interregional Cooperationand setting up networks and exchanges of experience: all the European regions are eligible (0,1 % of budget).

Investment in Growth and Jobs?

  • Cohesion policy provides for > 50% of public investment in 9 MS, mainly on key domains of EU interest (transport, energy, R&I, SME, etc.)

  • € 17 bn. reprogrammed since 2007 in reaction to crisis

  • 2012: Barroso Initiative: reprogramming of € 7 bn. focused on growth and job creation (impact on 168.000 SMEs and 450.000 young people).

Innovation and entrepreneurship

  • Targets mostly small and medium sized enterprises and start-ups.

  • At least 1 million gross jobs were created in supported companies.

  • Increased private investments and R&I activity in firms.

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio, 5th Cohesion Report

Promoting employment, education and inclusion

  • 40% of the unemployed trained have found a job.

  • Funded one third of Active Labour Market Policies expenditure.

  • Targets specific vulnerable groups such as youth, women, minorities, low-skilled, long-term unemployed.

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio, 5th Cohesion Report

Transport infrastructure

  • 2000-2006: 44,000 km of road and 12,000 km railway built or reconstructed in the period 2000-2006.

  • 2,000 km of motorways built

  • Construction of additional 4,000 km of trans-European rail, including high-speed

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio, 5th Cohesion Report

Access to Water and Waste Water Treatment

  • Faster implementation of environmental directives.

  • 23 million inhabitants are served by waste water projects to EU standards.

  • 20 million inhabitants have been served by water supply projects.

Source: EU Commission, DG Regio, 5th Cohesion Report

The Future Cohesion PolicyLegal Basis of Cohesion Policy

  • The Proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)

  • New Architecture for Cohesion Policy

  • „Better spending“. The Reform of Cohesion Policy 2014-2020

  • Timeline

Proposal on Cohesion Policy Budget for the MFF 2014-2020

NB: ESF minimum share is 25% for less developed, 40% for transition, and 52% for more developed

New Architecture of Cohesion Policy

  • Three categories of regions

    • Less developed regions (GDP per capita < 75%)

    • Transition regions (GDP per capita between 75% and 90%)

    • More developed regions (GDP per capita > 90%)

  • Cohesion Fund for Member States with GNI per capita <90%

  • Territorial cooperation (3 strands: CBC, transnational, interregional)

Key Elements of Cohesion Policy Reform

  • Alignment of Cohesion Policy with Europe 2020

  • Reinforced strategic programming

  • Thematic concentration

  • Conditionalityand performance incentives

  • Stronger focus on results

  • Streamlined delivery system


  • 30 June 2011: Proposal on MFF

  • 6 October 2011: Adoption of Legislative Proposals

  • March 2012: Commission Staff Working Document on the Common Strategic Framework

  • June 2012: Partial General Approach in Council

  • July 2012: Vote on CPR report in REGI committee

  • End 2012 (?): Agreement on MFF and adoption of new legislative package

  • 2013: Negotiation of new programming documents

  • 2014: Entry into force and adoption of programmes

Thank you for your attention and

all the best for your further studies!

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