Cohesion Policy is a major instrument what is significantly contributes to the attainment of the Union’s political priorities. How the Cohesion Policy will unleash investments worth a total of €545 billion, of which, €378 billion is funded by the EU – this is what the report on the outcome of 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy programming, published by the European Commission at the beginning of May 2023, shows.
According to the report, Cohesion Policy funds will increase the EU’s GDP by 0.5% by the end of the implementation period and support the creation of 1.3 million jobs. As the staff working document called “Cohesion 2021-2027: forging an ever-stronger Union” outlines, these funds aim to foster:
- lasting socio-economic convergence;
- territorial cohesion;
- a social and inclusive Europe;
- a smooth and fair green and digital transition.
In addition, Cohesion Policy funds will greatly contribute to fostering research and innovation and addressing the innovation and digital divide. For example, 83,000 researchers will have access to improved facilities and 725,000 companies will be supported in their smart growth.
The policy will also support modernisation of public services, digital skills and infrastructure (e.g., high-speed mobile network and fixed digital infrastructure will connect 3.1 million homes), digitisation of public services (e.g. 22,500 public administrations) and the digital transformation of businesses.
Green investments in climate mitigation and adaptation actions will directly contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal, aiming to reduce emissions in the EU by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to reaching EU climate neutrality by 2050. Support will be provided to projects in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Cohesion funds are a tool for investing in people for social and inclusive growth, in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights. Cohesion Policy aims to support at least 6.5 million unemployed people and investment in professional skills and lifelong learning, as underlined by the European Year of Skills. This will contribute to reaching the 2030 EU target of at least 60% of all adults participating in training every year.
Cohesion funding will also improve the integration and inclusion of more than 3 million people, including 600,000 people in marginalised groups such as Roma. 1.7 million pupils in primary and secondary education will be supported and almost 3.5 million people are expected to study in new or modernised education facilities.
Cohesion Policy will help people and territories most impacted by the transition to climate neutrality so that no region is left behind. Almost 39,000 enterprises will be supported in the transition and more than 5,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will invest in new skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship. Up to 120,000 unemployed people will benefit from the measures and almost 200,000 people will gain new qualifications.
Europe closer to the citizens: the current phase of Cohesion Policy has a strengthened bottom-up, place-based approach empowering sub-regional territories and local communities to identify their own priorities and projects in a participatory way. This approach will be implemented among others by more than 400 community-led local development strategies with enhanced ownership and the participation of local stakeholders and communities.
Finally, under European territorial cooperation across the EU and its neighbours, funds will be invested in joint projects involving more than 2 million people, 40,299 organisations and 25,456 SMEs. The policy helps all regions to develop their competitiveness and enhancing social well-being across the EU territory, while also supporting provision of basic services in the least developed areas.