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Implementation of macro-regional strategies

20-02-2020

While each macro-regional strategy is unique in terms of the countries it brings together and the scope of its policies, they all share the same common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues that are best tackled together. Building on the success of the pioneering 2009 European Union strategy for the Baltic Sea region, this form of cooperation has since become firmly embedded in the EU's institutional framework, with four strategies now in place, covering a total of 19 Member States and ...

While each macro-regional strategy is unique in terms of the countries it brings together and the scope of its policies, they all share the same common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues that are best tackled together. Building on the success of the pioneering 2009 European Union strategy for the Baltic Sea region, this form of cooperation has since become firmly embedded in the EU's institutional framework, with four strategies now in place, covering a total of 19 Member States and 8 third countries. Every two years, the European Commission publishes a report to assess the implementation of these strategies, most recently in 2019. With the views of stakeholders and other players helping to complete the picture, it is possible to identify a number of challenges common to all macro-regional strategies in areas such as governance, funding, political commitment and the need to be more results oriented. This, in turn, has helped focus discussions on the future role of macro-regional strategies within the post 2020 cohesion policy framework. For while recent months have seen the idea of a fifth macro-regional strategy resurface, with negotiations now under way on the cohesion policy architecture beyond 2020, the future position of macro-regional strategies within this framework looks set to be the key issue in the coming months for all actors involved in the EU’s macro-regional strategies. Parliament has actively taken part in this debate, through its participation in trilogues on the cohesion policy package, and its 2018 resolution on the implementation of macro-regional strategies. The current Croatian EU Presidency has also committed to focusing on achieving the goals of macro-regional strategies and ensuring their complementarity with cohesion policy as part of its programme, helping to keep the issue high on the political agenda. Much will depend, however, on the outcome of the ongoing multiannual financial framework (MFF) negotiations, which will be critical not only for macro-regional strategies but also for the future shape of cohesion policy in general. This is an updated edition of a Briefing from September 2017.

Better communication for cohesion policy

05-11-2019

Cohesion policy is a major EU investment tool aimed at reducing regional disparities and achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion. It delivers a wide range of results in areas such as new infrastructure, training, job creation, support for small businesses and environmental protection. Communication is key when it comes to making the public aware of existing funding opportunities and informing them of the results of cohesion policy investments. It can also affect public perception of the ...

Cohesion policy is a major EU investment tool aimed at reducing regional disparities and achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion. It delivers a wide range of results in areas such as new infrastructure, training, job creation, support for small businesses and environmental protection. Communication is key when it comes to making the public aware of existing funding opportunities and informing them of the results of cohesion policy investments. It can also affect public perception of the EU and raise awareness of the positive impact of EU support on people's everyday lives. Improving the visibility of cohesion policy is therefore a salient issue for the EU. Communication measures range from requirements for fund managers and beneficiaries on the basis of EU legislation to more informal initiatives such as information campaigns, events and web portals aimed at publicising the policy's achievements. In the framework of multi-level governance, communication activities bring together a wide variety of actors including EU institutions, Member States, regional and local authorities and members of civil society. The ongoing negotiations on the new multiannual financial framework for 2021 to 2027, including new regulations on cohesion policy, and the upcoming conclusion of the 2014-2020 programming period provide a good opportunity for reflection on the issue of cohesion policy communication. This briefing updates an earlier edition, of March 2019. It was originally produced at the request of a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the Committee.

Implementing the Urban Agenda for the EU

02-10-2019

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policy-making. To help ...

Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU's population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. While the revised 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework introduced a number of new instruments intended to enhance the urban dimension of cohesion funding, a shared vision of urban development has gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, accompanied by increasing calls to give city authorities and stakeholders a greater say in policy-making. To help guide these discussions, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 communication on the urban dimension of EU policies. Its findings indicated broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. The European Parliament also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue, as part of a process that would ultimately lead to the signing of the Pact of Amsterdam on 30 May 2016, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda. With the pact providing for the creation of urban partnerships focusing on key urban themes, all partnerships are now in operation. A total of 12 partnerships have now drawn up action plans, allowing the partners involved to contribute to the design of future, or the revision of current, EU legislation. As many of these plans are currently at the implementation stage, this is leading to a series of concrete deliverables, helping to ensure that the Urban Agenda for the EU is making a real difference on the ground. Developments such as better coordination at the Commission on urban issues have further consolidated the Urban Agenda, yet challenges remain. In this context, the Commission's proposals for the cohesion framework post-2020, which include creating a European urban initiative to support the Urban Agenda, the imminent Commission assessment of Urban Agenda implementation and the planned renewal of the Leipzig Charter in 2020, all have the potential to strengthen the Urban Agenda. Successfully implementing the Urban Agenda, however, will ultimately depend on the partnerships' ability to deliver actions and on the extent to which they are taken up by the Commission, a process requiring full commitment from all partners involved.

Metropolitan regions in EU cohesion policy

02-10-2019

Metropolitan regions currently include three fifths of the EU population – a proportion that is expected to increase in the future. These regions constitute important poles of innovation, research and economic growth, while also offering a wide variety of educational, cultural and professional opportunities to their inhabitants. Nevertheless, metropolitan regions face a number of important challenges. As they are composed of urban, sub-urban and even rural areas, they require a multidimensional policy ...

Metropolitan regions currently include three fifths of the EU population – a proportion that is expected to increase in the future. These regions constitute important poles of innovation, research and economic growth, while also offering a wide variety of educational, cultural and professional opportunities to their inhabitants. Nevertheless, metropolitan regions face a number of important challenges. As they are composed of urban, sub-urban and even rural areas, they require a multidimensional policy approach to help them tackle their complex issues. One of the major issues that metropolitan regions usually face is the lack of an efficient, inter-connected transport system. Environmental pollution, a major problem in many such regions, is inextricably linked to transport (exacerbated by the high number of commuters), high energy consumption and waste creation. Metropolitan regions usually constitute poles of population growth and have to cater for the integration of their newly arrived citizens. In certain cases, the increasing demand for accommodation leads to a lack of affordable housing and an escalation of rental and property prices; this problem has worsened in many urban areas of the European Union in recent years. In addition, although metropolitan regions may be hubs of economic growth, they also house big numbers of poor and homeless people. Yet again, a number of de-industrialised EU metropolitan regions are suffering severe economic losses. The EU is addressing the needs of metropolitan regions through a number of funds and tools, most notably the European structural and investment funds. Other EU instruments, such as the Urban Agenda for the EU also provide opportunities for metropolitan regions.

Financial instruments in cohesion policy

30-09-2019

Considered a resource-efficient way of using public funding, the use of financial instruments in cohesion policy is increasing. Financial instruments provide support for investment in the form of loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-sharing mechanisms. In the 2014-2020 programming period, financial instruments can be applied in all thematic areas and funds covered by cohesion policy, and they can be combined with grants. The amounts allocated are expected to double in comparison to the previous ...

Considered a resource-efficient way of using public funding, the use of financial instruments in cohesion policy is increasing. Financial instruments provide support for investment in the form of loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-sharing mechanisms. In the 2014-2020 programming period, financial instruments can be applied in all thematic areas and funds covered by cohesion policy, and they can be combined with grants. The amounts allocated are expected to double in comparison to the previous period. The lessons learnt so far from the implementation of financial instruments show that they present both advantages and challenges. Their revolving nature can increase the efficiency and sustainability of public funds in the long term. The requirement to repay can stimulate better performance and quality of investment projects. They can improve access to finance, through targeting financially viable projects that have not been able to obtain sufficient funding from market sources. However, financial instruments can also entail high management costs and fees, as well as complex set-up procedures. Although financial instruments may be a beneficial way to optimise the use of the cohesion budget, in some situations grants can be more effective. It is also important to bear in mind that the primary goal of financial instruments is to support cohesion policy objectives, rather than just to generate financial returns. The new legislative proposals on the post-2020 cohesion policy framework have taken these considerations into account, simplifying the use of financial instruments. This is an updated edition of a 2016 Briefing.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Elisa Ferreira - Cohesion and Reforms

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Research for REGI Committee – Cohesion policy: The European Parliament’s role since the Treaty of Lisbon

15-07-2019

This study assesses the role of the European Parliament in the field of cohesion policy since the Treaty of Lisbon introduced ‘co-decision’ procedure whereby Parliament and Council have equal powers in agreeing the regulations of the EU Structural and Investment Funds. In addition to the formal processes, the study also considers the informal ones from policy development at the pre-legislative stage to the interinstitutional negotiations as well as the Parliament’s scrutiny role over cohesion policy ...

This study assesses the role of the European Parliament in the field of cohesion policy since the Treaty of Lisbon introduced ‘co-decision’ procedure whereby Parliament and Council have equal powers in agreeing the regulations of the EU Structural and Investment Funds. In addition to the formal processes, the study also considers the informal ones from policy development at the pre-legislative stage to the interinstitutional negotiations as well as the Parliament’s scrutiny role over cohesion policy.

Vanjski autor

Jürgen PUCHER, Haris MARTINOS, Serafin PAZOS-VIDAL, Jasmin HAIDER

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Regional policy

28-06-2019

The principal aim of the EU's regional policy, also known as cohesion policy, is to address the territorial, social and economic imbalances that exist between the different regions of the EU. Regional policy covers all regions and cities of the European Union, helping to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, and to improve citizens' quality of life. To achieve these goals and address the diverse development needs in all EU regions, €351.8 billion ...

The principal aim of the EU's regional policy, also known as cohesion policy, is to address the territorial, social and economic imbalances that exist between the different regions of the EU. Regional policy covers all regions and cities of the European Union, helping to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, and to improve citizens' quality of life. To achieve these goals and address the diverse development needs in all EU regions, €351.8 billion – almost one third of the total EU budget – has been set aside for cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 period. This financial support is distributed through two main funds: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF). Together with the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), they make up the European structural and investment (ESI) funds, which provide support that can make a real difference to the lives of people in the EU's regions. With the current programming period (2014-2020) drawing to a close, work is now under way on planning the cohesion policy priorities for the next programming period (2021-2027). During its 2014-2019 term the European Parliament was called upon numerous times to adopt new legislative acts, amend older rules and to provide opinions on many topics relating to the EU's regional policy. Within the European Parliament, the Committee on Regional Policy is responsible for the Union's regional development and cohesion policy, as set out in the Treaties. In anticipation of its expected withdrawal from the EU, the UK, until now a net contributor to the EU budget, will no longer contribute to the post-2020 EU budget, which means that the EU will have fewer resources to allocate to its policies in the future, including cohesion policy. The European Parliament has, however, strongly advocated maintaining the level of funding for cohesion policy at its current level or even increasing it. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Research for REGI Committee-The Agenda for Cohesion Policy in 2019-2024: Key issues for the REGI Committee

14-06-2019

This study reviews current and emerging issues for Cohesion Policy to support the work agenda of the European Parliament’s Committee for Regional Development during its new mandate for 2019-2024. The analysis focuses on issues relating to the committee’s competences and concludes by highlighting key policy themes and political questions for the debate on Cohesion Policy in 2021-27.

This study reviews current and emerging issues for Cohesion Policy to support the work agenda of the European Parliament’s Committee for Regional Development during its new mandate for 2019-2024. The analysis focuses on issues relating to the committee’s competences and concludes by highlighting key policy themes and political questions for the debate on Cohesion Policy in 2021-27.

Vanjski autor

Carlos Mendez, John Bachtler and Irene McMaster

Regional inequalities in the EU

17-05-2019

The issue of inequality has gained increasing importance in the public and political agenda in the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, and in the context of political movements representing the 'places left behind'. Inequality may relate to income and wealth, but also to a variety of aspects such as access to basic services, education and infrastructure. In the context of regional disparities, it may also refer to differing levels of socio-economic development. Common inequality measures ...

The issue of inequality has gained increasing importance in the public and political agenda in the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, and in the context of political movements representing the 'places left behind'. Inequality may relate to income and wealth, but also to a variety of aspects such as access to basic services, education and infrastructure. In the context of regional disparities, it may also refer to differing levels of socio-economic development. Common inequality measures have revealed that, while regional disparities have been decreasing when considering the EU as a whole, they have been increasing within some countries. A number of persistently low-growth regions exist in southern Europe, as do many low-income regions in eastern Europe. Every Member State has a number of 'inner peripheries', which are habitually located in post-industrial or rural areas and often characterised by high levels of unemployment, poor infrastructure, lack of skilled workforce and hampered accessibility. Strengthening social, economic and territorial cohesion, and reducing regional disparities is the main goal of EU cohesion policy. As a major EU tool to address regional inequalities, this policy provides a wide range of support for businesses and activities in areas such as research, environment, transport, employment, social inclusion, education and institutional capacity-building. Such support is crucial for addressing the underlying problems of many lagging regions, helping them create better living conditions, retain and attract talent, encourage investment, improve productivity and develop regional innovation systems. Together with economic governance frameworks and EU support for structural reform, EU cohesion policy can play an important role in reducing inequality, in a comprehensive and multidimensional way. While traditionally, GDP per capita has been used to assess regional convergence, a variety of new indicators tracking progress on issues correlated with inequality are available for this purpose today. Moreover, the proposals for the EU's post-2020 policy framework include new additional funding allocation criteria such as youth unemployment, education levels, climate change, and the reception and integration of migrants. These changes possibly indicate a shift towards a more comprehensive view of territorial convergence in the EU.

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