Still-controversial issues to do with "better spending" of EU structural funds were debated by Regional Development Committee MEPs and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on Tuesday, in the run-up to the July vote that will mandate MEPs to negotiate the "cohesion" reform package.
More than ever, regional investment policy needs to combine efficiency with flexibility, so as to become an instrument for growth and jobs, adaptable to short-term changes and needs, whilst remaining committed to the overarching goal of ensuring cohesion between the EU's richer and poorer regions, said MEPs and the Commissioner.
"Investing in infrastructure only has proven to be insufficient", said Mr Hahn, referring to Spain and Greece. Diversification is the key, so "we need to use structural funds to broaden the economic basis in every region, in particular in the outermost regions", he added.
Mr Hahn once again insisted that means should be concentrated on the themes of "green and blue technologies, energy efficiency, and innovation."
For full debate, please see link to the right (click on 29.05.2012 - starting 11.00).