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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.

Better communication for cohesion policy

14-03-2019

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 spirit 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.

Reform Support Programme 2021-2027

13-03-2019

The European Commission adopted the proposal on the establishment of the Reform Support Programme on 31 May 2018, as part of the package for the upcoming multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027. The programme will provide financial and technical support for Member States to implement reforms aimed at increasing the resilience of their economies and modernising them, including priority reforms identified in the European Semester. The overall budget for the programme is €25 billion. It comprises ...

The European Commission adopted the proposal on the establishment of the Reform Support Programme on 31 May 2018, as part of the package for the upcoming multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027. The programme will provide financial and technical support for Member States to implement reforms aimed at increasing the resilience of their economies and modernising them, including priority reforms identified in the European Semester. The overall budget for the programme is €25 billion. It comprises three elements: a reform delivery tool (financial support); a Technical Support Instrument (technical expertise, building on the current Structural Reform Support Programme 2017-2020); and a convergence facility (preparation for adopting the euro). The Reform Support Programme will be open to all Member States on a voluntary basis, with no co-financing required. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Committee on Budgets (BUDG) are working jointly on this file under Rule 55 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure. A vote in the joint committee meeting is expected on 1 April 2019, with a vote in plenary thereafter, during the second April 2019 part-session. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund 2021-2027

16-01-2019

In the context of the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) on 29 May 2018. The new single regulation on the ERDF and CF (previously covered by two separate regulations) identifies the specific objectives and scope of support for both funds, including non-eligible activities. The majority of ERDF funding (65 % to 85 %) will focus on smart growth ...

In the context of the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF) on 29 May 2018. The new single regulation on the ERDF and CF (previously covered by two separate regulations) identifies the specific objectives and scope of support for both funds, including non-eligible activities. The majority of ERDF funding (65 % to 85 %) will focus on smart growth and the green economy, while the fund will also support other activities such as connectivity, social issues and local development. The CF will continue to focus predominantly on environmental and transport infrastructure. Special provisions have been proposed for territories such as urban areas and outermost regions. The indicator framework for monitoring progress will include new common results indicators. At the European Parliament, the file has been allocated to the Committee on Regional Development, where the rapporteur's draft report was presented in October 2018. It is planned to be voted in committee in February 2019. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Regional governance in the EU

03-10-2018

The quality of public institutions has a major impact on social and economic development at regional level. Regions with high government effectiveness, low corruption and high-quality public services tend to have higher outcomes in terms of economic performance, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, education, health, and subjective well-being. Administrative capacity-building is therefore crucial, as it has a positive impact on creating conditions conducive to economic and social progress ...

The quality of public institutions has a major impact on social and economic development at regional level. Regions with high government effectiveness, low corruption and high-quality public services tend to have higher outcomes in terms of economic performance, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, education, health, and subjective well-being. Administrative capacity-building is therefore crucial, as it has a positive impact on creating conditions conducive to economic and social progress. The 2017 European Quality of Government Index (EQI) shows that institutional quality still varies across EU regions, but the traditional north-south and east-west divisions seem to be slowly blurring. While northern countries remain at the top, the eastern regions have made the most improvement compared with previous editions of the index. Some southern regions, meanwhile, have experienced a decline over the past few years. In the 2014 to 2020 period, EU cohesion policy has offered a variety of funding sources and instruments to support local and regional authorities. Investments are available for enhancing the management of EU funds and for building long-term institutional capacity. Specific actions include training for civil servants, cross-border cooperation, e-government tools, efforts to optimise procedures, and modernisation of public service delivery.

Measuring social progress in EU regions

01-10-2018

The social dimension has long been present on the European Union agenda. Recently, it has gained greater significance, particularly in contexts such as the EU governance framework (the European Semester), and economic and monetary union, as well as the reflection process on the future of the EU. Initiatives to measure the EU's social situation and the social impact of EU policies have produced a number of indicators that complement the assessment of economic performance. These measurements can help ...

The social dimension has long been present on the European Union agenda. Recently, it has gained greater significance, particularly in contexts such as the EU governance framework (the European Semester), and economic and monetary union, as well as the reflection process on the future of the EU. Initiatives to measure the EU's social situation and the social impact of EU policies have produced a number of indicators that complement the assessment of economic performance. These measurements can help present a more comprehensive picture of the state of European societies. The EU regional Social Progress Index provides an overview of aspects including health, access to education, environmental quality, housing, personal rights and inclusion. The 2016 findings give a mixed picture of social progress across EU regions. Generally, Nordic and Dutch regions figure among the top performers, with southern and eastern regions lagging behind. However, the picture becomes more nuanced when specific dimensions of social progress are taken into account. The index also shows that social progress scores do not always correlate with a region's GDP. Improving social progress is also relevant to EU cohesion policy, one of the goals of which is to achieve social, economic and territorial cohesion, while also reducing regional disparities. Regional investments can therefore be geared to support both economic performance and social progress. The role and application of new indicators and indexes in this process is currently being explored with a view to establishing how they can be used in policy to support real change, for instance by monitoring developments, identifying priorities, and evaluating progress. This is an updated edition of a briefing published in November 2017.

Programma di sostegno alle riforme strutturali: dotazione finanziaria e obiettivo generale

05-09-2018

Il programma di sostegno alle riforme strutturali per il periodo 2017-2020 è attivo dal maggio 2017. Fornisce assistenza volontaria agli Stati membri per la preparazione e l'attuazione di riforme amministrative e strutturali volte a sostenere la crescita. Alla luce dell'elevato tasso di utilizzo del programma, le modifiche proposte dalla Commissione ne ampliano l'ambito al fine di includere il sostegno ai preparativi per l'adesione alla zona euro e aumentarne la dotazione finanziaria da 142,8 milioni ...

Il programma di sostegno alle riforme strutturali per il periodo 2017-2020 è attivo dal maggio 2017. Fornisce assistenza volontaria agli Stati membri per la preparazione e l'attuazione di riforme amministrative e strutturali volte a sostenere la crescita. Alla luce dell'elevato tasso di utilizzo del programma, le modifiche proposte dalla Commissione ne ampliano l'ambito al fine di includere il sostegno ai preparativi per l'adesione alla zona euro e aumentarne la dotazione finanziaria da 142,8 milioni di EUR a 222,8 milioni di EUR. Il Parlamento europeo dovrebbe votare il testo concordato con il Consiglio durante la tornata di settembre 2018.

Uno statuto per le imprese sociali e solidali

27-06-2018

Le imprese sociali coniugano l'attività imprenditoriale con un impatto positivo a livello sociale, ambientale o comunitario. Tuttavia, devono anche confrontarsi con gli ostacoli normativi, l'accesso ai finanziamenti e la visibilità. La mancanza di un consenso sulla definizione di "impresa sociale" ne rende problematica la regolamentazione e il finanziamento nei vari sistemi. Nel luglio 2018 il Parlamento europeo dovrebbe votare una relazione di iniziativa che invita la Commissione europea a migliorare ...

Le imprese sociali coniugano l'attività imprenditoriale con un impatto positivo a livello sociale, ambientale o comunitario. Tuttavia, devono anche confrontarsi con gli ostacoli normativi, l'accesso ai finanziamenti e la visibilità. La mancanza di un consenso sulla definizione di "impresa sociale" ne rende problematica la regolamentazione e il finanziamento nei vari sistemi. Nel luglio 2018 il Parlamento europeo dovrebbe votare una relazione di iniziativa che invita la Commissione europea a migliorare il quadro normativo con l'istituzione del sistema di "etichetta europea dell'economia sociale", volto a stabilire norme giuridiche coerenti a sostengo delle imprese sociali.

Global Trendometer: Essays on medium- and long-term global trends - Summer 2017

06-09-2017

With the publication of the "Global Trendometer" the EPRS Global Trends Unit seeks to contribute to the process of identifying and addressing medium- and long-term trends, and their possible implications for policy-making in the European Union. In this latest edition, three essays and seven two-page vignettes on different geopolitical, economic, technological and social issues paint a broad-ranging picture of some developments that may shape Europe’s future.

With the publication of the "Global Trendometer" the EPRS Global Trends Unit seeks to contribute to the process of identifying and addressing medium- and long-term trends, and their possible implications for policy-making in the European Union. In this latest edition, three essays and seven two-page vignettes on different geopolitical, economic, technological and social issues paint a broad-ranging picture of some developments that may shape Europe’s future.

Regional competitiveness in the EU

03-07-2017

Competitiveness has been an important issue on the EU’s agenda for several decades. Understood in a more comprehensive way – as including both productivity and prosperity – it can be seen as a way to create favourable business conditions for companies and to increase the standards of living of the population. Supporting competitiveness, especially in the case of nations and regions, requires creating framework conditions to develop the necessary infrastructure, human capital, technology and efficient ...

Competitiveness has been an important issue on the EU’s agenda for several decades. Understood in a more comprehensive way – as including both productivity and prosperity – it can be seen as a way to create favourable business conditions for companies and to increase the standards of living of the population. Supporting competitiveness, especially in the case of nations and regions, requires creating framework conditions to develop the necessary infrastructure, human capital, technology and efficient markets that can help attract talent and investment. In the 2016 edition of its Regional Competitiveness Index, the European Commission presents a ranking of regions according to their attractiveness for both firms and residents. This broader vision of competitiveness can have implications for policy decisions and the choice of investment priorities. Data on the diverse dimensions of the Index, such as innovation, education and institutions, can help authorities to identify respective regional strengths and aspects to be improved. Increasing regional competitiveness is also a task relevant to EU cohesion policy. While the main role of EU regional funding is to ensure cohesion and reduce disparities between regions, competitiveness is important for supporting dynamic regional development. Therefore, the right balance in the policy mix between supporting competitiveness and convergence is required.

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