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EU funds should be allocated considering environmental and social indicators alongside GDP, local leaders say

Regions and cities call for the EU to improve its development indicators , in order to better direct funds where they are needed most, on clearly identified priorities.

 "If we want the next EU budget to be more efficient and results-oriented, we need better criteria to assess the needs of territories and to measure strategic progress," said rapporteur Catiuscia Marini, Chair of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and President of the Umbria Region in Italy.

Environmental quality, social inclusion, employment and education opportunities should complement the GDP as the main indicators used to define the priorities for the next generation of investment plans funded by the EU cohesion policy.

The Committee is the first EU institution to take a formal position on "going Beyond GDP", which was immediately welcomed also by EU Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Creţu, during the debate with local leaders at the plenary session held on 11 February in Brussels.

Regions and cities also requested to be involved in defining such indicators as well as in setting the EU's policy targets, so that policies are measured and implemented in a way that mirrors the actual needs of EU citizens and businesses.

"Providing feasible proposals to revise development indicators, is part of the CoR's contribution to shape Cohesion Policy after 2020," said Ms Marini. She went to stress: "As shown by today's debate with Commissioner Creţu, including more specific and regionalised indicators to complement the GDP is a political decision and choice with implications that cannot be dealt with at the technical level."

To ensure the adequate involvement of regional and local authorities, the Committee requested the European Commission to come forward with a road-map on the "GDP and beyond".

In addition, local leaders called on the EU to make sure that regional data are made available and regularly updated. To fill the current information gaps and to deliver new and more consistent regional statistics, the Committee therefore proposed the introduction of a comprehensive Regional Progress Indicator.

For more information

CoR opinion on Indicators for territorial development – GDP and Beyond

OECD regional Well-Being: A Closer Measure of Life

Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

European Parliament Research Service – Briefing on "Beyond GDP: Regional development indicators"

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