EU regional and cohesion policy is an investment policy. Via various funding programmes, it supports job creation, competitiveness, economic growth, improved quality of life and sustainable development. These investments contribute to the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy. Regional policy also aims to reduce the economic, social and territorial disparities between Europe’s regions.
The overall regional and cohesion policy framework is established for a period of 7 years. The current period covers the years 2014-2020. Funding for regional and cohesion policy and the thematic objectives and priorities for investment, along with the financial allocations for each Member State (MS), are agreed at the beginning of each programming period.
For the period 2014-2020, € 351, 8 billion will be available for MS to invest in 11 thematic objectives, all stemming from the Europe 2020 strategy e.g.: research, ICT, sustainable transport, SMEs, renewable energy and energy efficiency, environment, employment and education. The selected thematic objectives (and for each a summary of the main results expected from each of the European Structural and Investment Funds – ESI), the indicative allocation of support by the EU (by thematic objective at national level for each of the ESI Funds), as well as the total indicative amount of support envisaged for climate change objectives shall be set out in Partnership Agreements (PAs) to be submitted to the European Commission by 22 April 2014. Member States’ PAs are due to be adopted by the end of August 2014. Operational Programmes (OPs) shall be submitted by Member States at the latest 3 months following the submission of the PAs and are due to be adopted by end of January 2015.