Members' Research Service By / January 31, 2015

The Sixth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion

Written by Sorina Silvia Ionescu EU Cohesion Policy investments from 2014-2020 will make more than €38 billion available to support the shift…

European Union, 2015
Written by Sorina Silvia Ionescu
European Union, 2015
European Union, 2015

EU Cohesion Policy investments from 2014-2020 will make more than €38 billion available to support the shift to a more environmentally-friendly economy, through investments for energy efficiency and renewable energy, while up to €33 billion will support Europe’s SMEs to become more competitive.

The Report analyses the state of cohesion of the Union and highlights the challenges faced by national, regional and local authorities in overcoming the impact of the financial and economic crisis. In particular it finds that Cohesion Policy has cushioned the dramatic decline of public investment, injecting much needed investment resources in many Member States and creating vital financial stability which serves to attract private investment.

This Keysource provides a selection of relevant documents on the Sixth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion.

EU Institutions and bodies

European Parliament

Investment for jobs and growth: promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion in the Union, 2014/2245(INI) – Procedure file from Legislative Observatory

European Commission

Sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion / European Commission, July 2014 ( short version of the report)

This report shows that EU Cohesion Policy is delivering on the growth goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy by creating jobs and reducing disparities across Europe. Looking ahead to 2014-2020, the report outlines how investments will be focused on key areas like energy efficiency, employment, social inclusion and SMEs to get the most of the investments to the benefit of citizens.

Sixth Cohesion Forum / European Commission, 8-9 September 2014

This webpage provides videos and speeches of the debates during this two days forum.

Council of the European Union

Council conclusions on the Sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: investment for jobs and growth / General Affairs (Cohesion) Council, Brussels, 19 November 2014, 6 p.

In its conclusions, the Council calls upon the Commission and the Member States to ensure full commitment to implement cohesion policy as reformed for the 2014-2020 period, ensuring consistency with the adopted provisions, and to avoid additional obligations or burdensome application of the rules; stresses that the new programming exercise needs to ensure the quality of the interventions and the compliance with the relevant country-specific recommendations as well as with the ex-ante conditionalities; and recalls the supportive role that cohesion policy can play in promoting important reforms, and removing long-term bottlenecks, and the reinforced link between cohesion policy and economic governance.

Meeting of Directors General responsible for Territorial Cohesion and Urban Development: Synthesis of the debate / Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union Milan, 25 September 2014, 4 p.

Committee of the Regions

OPINION on the Sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion, COTER-V-052 , 3-4 December 2014, 13 p.

European Economic and Social Committee

Opinion on the Sixth Report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: investment for jobs and growth, ECO/370 , 21 January 2015, 9 p.


Cohesion policy facing the crisis: what effects for the EU’s regions ? by Patrick Faucheur, Notre Europe, 15 January 2015, 12 p.

This Policy Paper on the Commission’s Sixth Report on Cohesion seeks to highlight the changes that have occurred in the development of regions since the crisis. It focuses on the role that Cohesion Policy has played in this context, helping to mitigate the effects while continuing to support economic and social cohesion. It also sheds particular light on the issue of the governance of regions and its relationship with the implementation of Cohesion Policy, especially with regard to its effectiveness. To conclude it points out the links between the implementation of Cohesion Policy and the EU’s economic and fiscal governance that the effects of the crisis tended to strengthen and new provisions for the 2014-2020 period that take them into account to a great extent.

Solidarity and cohesion / by Pawel Swieboda, European Policy Centre, October 2014, 7 p.

The author argues that the post-crisis solidarity and cohesion agenda in the EU must focus on restarting the convergence process. The basic objective will be to restore the level-playing field in the Union by completing the EMU with a robust fiscal pillar and elements of a “transfer union”. On the one side, increasing investment to raise aggregate demand is the most pressing task. The other side of the bargain has to do with improving macroeconomic performance, increasing competitiveness and completing structural reforms in the vulnerable countries, for example through labour market reforms, improvements of the institutional and financial infrastructure or the sophistication of business models, altogether combining the objectives of fiscal consolidation with those of growth and equity. (Source: EPC website)

Prospects for Cohesion Policy in 2014-20 and Beyond: Progress with Programming and Reflections on the Future / by Carlos Mendez and John Bachtler, European Policy Research Paper, No. 88, European Policies Research Centre, January 2015, 49 p.

“This paper begins by setting out the recent economic, political and institutional developments at EU level with a bearing on Cohesion policy (Section 2). Section 3 reviews the finalisation of the 2014-20 legislative framework and changes in geographical eligibility and allocations, followed by an overview of the state-of-play of programming, the key issues in the negotiations between the Commission and Member States and the expected shifts in thematic allocations across the EU. Looking forward, section 4 summarises recent studies exploring post-2020 reform scenarios. The final section concludes by reflecting on some of the key implications of the 2013 reform and questions that will inform the debate on the future of Cohesion policy.” (Source: the paper)

How’s Life in Your Region?: Measuring Regional and Local Well-being for Policy Making / OECD, OECD Publishing, October 2014, 170 p.

This report presents the OECD analytical framework for measuring well-being at the regional level, as well as internationally comparable indicators on 9 well-being dimensions for 362 regions across 34 OECD countries. It also sets out guidance for all levels of government in using well-being measures to better target policies at the specific needs of different communities. Drawing on a variety of practical experiences from OECD regions and cities, the report discusses methodological and political solutions for selecting regional well-being outcome indicators, monitoring the progress of regional well-being performance over time, and implementing a process of multi-stakeholder engagement to promote social change.

Project generation and selection in Cohesion policy in 2014-20: between results-orientation and micro-management / by Frederike Gross and Laura Polverari, IQ-Net Thematic Paper, no 34(2), European Policies Research Centre, 27 May 2014, 44 p.

The 2014-20 programme period sees the introduction of results-orientation to reverse the input-driven programming logic. Although project selection is supposed to be at the heart of programme implementation, guidance on how to ensure that projects contribute to results-orientation is scarce. Managing authorities foresee that the importance of results-orientation will increase; at the same time there remain questions on how to apply the concept in practice. The role of results-orientation will become more important across IQ-Net partner countries and regions, but other considerations remain important. While the focus on results-orientation may lead to greater transparency and enhanced simplification during project selection, there are concerns over the impact of absorption and compliance (notably State aid and public procurement rules) considerations. The attitude taken by auditors will be critical for the practical application of results-orientation.

Evaluation of the main achievements of Cohesion Policy programmes and projects over the longer term in 15 selected regions: from 1989-1993 programme period to the present [2013] / EPRC- European Policies Research Centre and LSE – London School of Economics, 13 September 2013, 157 p.

Against a background of inconclusive evidence of the results of EU Cohesion policy since 1989, the aim of this study has been to evaluate the main achievements of EU Cohesion policy programmes and projects and their effectiveness and utility over the longer term in 15 selected regions of the EU15.

Stakeholder views


EUROCITIES strategic framework 2014-2020 / Eurocities, December 2014, 3 p.

This paper emphasis that well-performing cities and metropolitan areas are crucial not just for the local, regional and national level, but for Europe as a whole. Their performance is critical to Europe’s global competitiveness and to a new start for the EU. EUROCITIES have identified five focus areas that to a large extent align with the EU’s strategic priorities and provide a strong strategic operational framework for EUROCITIES, namely: cities as drivers of quality jobs and sustainable growth; inclusive, diverse and creative cities; Green, free-flowing and healthy cities; smarter cities; and urban innovation and governance in cities.

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe

CPMR Analysis of the 6th Cohesion Report: technical paper from the CPRM General Secretariat / Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe, September 2014, 6 p.

This note concentrates on a number of key issues raised by the 6th Cohesion Report. Among others the CPMR does not fully support the idea that the ex-ante conditions and result indicators, will contribute to ensuring better results for European investment; consider that regional GDP does not accurately reflect the challenges faced by the regions. The CPMR also regrets that the European Commission’s report is based mainly on the principle that cohesion policy intervention should now be more geared towards correcting “human-influenced factors” and less towards geographical disadvantages.

Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CCRE- CEMR)

Cohesion policy: planning of EU structural funds: is local government treated as a real partner? / Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CCRE- CEMR), May 2014, 32 p.

The existence of a European Code of Conduct on Partnership Principle (ECCP) in the framework of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) binds Member States and Managing Authorities to work in close cooperation with local and regional authorities as full partners throughout the whole programming cycle: preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Partnership Agreements (PAs) and Operational Programmes (OPs). On the basis of the experience of 18 CEMR members (national associations of local and regional authorities), this paper highlights that barely 4 out of 18 Member States had fully applied the Partnership Principle. A majority of Member States have put in place channels of discussion and cooperation with local and regional authorities. Nevertheless, Member States implement the partnership principle in very different ways and there is room for improvement everywhere. (Source: CCRE)


Eurostat Regional Yearbook 2014 / Eurostat, October 2014, 334 p.

The Eurostat regional yearbook 2014 gives a detailed picture relating to a broad range of statistical topics across the regions of the Member States of the European Union (EU), as well as the regions of EFTA and candidate countries. These regional indicators are presented for the following 11 subjects: population, health, education, the labour market, the economy, structural business statistics, research and innovation, the information society, tourism, transport, and agriculture. In addition, four special focus chapters are included in this edition: these look at the environment, land cover and land use, European cities, and regional competitiveness.

Living conditions in Europe / Eurostat, December 2014, 134 p.

This publication provides a statistical overview of living conditions in Europe. It presents a broad range of indicators on different aspects of both living conditions and the distinct socio-economic factors that affect them. These include poverty and inequality; living standards and their affordability for households; quality of housing and the living environment, as well as other material living conditions, along with their interrelationships with the social, labour and health status of a household; and aspects of child poverty and social exclusion, as well as the family-related factors in childhood which affect the situation of today’s adults.

Cohesion Policy Data – open data platform on cohesion policy created to provide support in achieving results, increasing transparency and promoting debate on the performance of funding.

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