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Structural funds proved vital to reduce inequalities but all EU policies must strengthen cohesion among regions  

​The 8th Cohesion Report shows cohesion policy's real capacity to support weaker areas but also increasing risks linked to innovation gaps and stagnating regional economies

Statement by Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the region of Central Macedonia, Greece

"European Structural and Investment Funds, managed in partnership with regional and local authorities, have been crucial to creating jobs, helping citizens at risk of poverty and social exclusion, making the green and digital transition more inclusive. These achievements are possible thanks to a real partnership involving EU, national, regional and local actors, and a strategy focused on accelerating convergence among and within Member States. But cohesion policy alone cannot make it. In order to avoid new gaps and promote innovation and sustainability across the Union we need all other EU policies to adopt a similar approach and take into account the diversity of our communities on the ground. From the Recovery and Resilience Facility to Horizon Europe, from the revised Stability and Growth Pact to international trade agreements, it is time for Europe to shape and implement its decisions and investment policies paying a stronger attention to their impact on local communities and promoting their active involvement to achieve common goals. The value of cohesion and partnership must be our compass to get out of this crisis."

Statement by Nathalie Sarrabezolles, Chair of the CoR Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER), rapporteur on the 8th Cohesion Report and Councillor of the Finistère Departmental Council

The Cohesion Report demonstrates that regional disparities remain still significantly greater than in 2007, before the financial crisis of 2008. The entire population of Greece and Cyprus, 80% of Italians and a third of Spaniards, but also 75% of the Finnish population, just to name a few examples, are still struggling to return to pre-crisis levels. The Report also shows that the pandemic has hit vulnerable regions the most and that research and innovation capacities are even more concentrated than in the past in capital regions and large metropolitan areas. It means that EU cohesion policy is needed now more than ever but also that all EU policies should contribute to convergence, cohesion and solidarity. It is important to stress that all other EU policies must promote the Cohesion objective. It is only by assessing the cohesive and anti-cohesive effects of all EU policies that we will be able to reduce economic, social and territorial inequalities."

The European Commission presented today the 8th Cohesion Report, which assess progress in reducing economic, social and regional disparities in the EU and how national and EU policies have helped achieve this.


A CoR-European Commission Joint Action Plan "for a strong recovery and a just transition" was signed on 25 January. The press release can be consulted here.

So far the European Commission has paid out €253 billion euros (62% of the planned funds) within the 2014-20 programming period, which allows spending until 2023. Figures include the €50,6 billion crisis mechanism REACT-EU

In 2021-2027 EU funds allocated to Cohesion Policy amount to € 392 billion. With the national co-financing, about half a trillion euro will be available to finance the programmes in the EU regions and countries. More information here.

Together with the leading European associations of cities and regions, the CoR is a founding partner of the #CohesionAlliance, to affirm cohesion as a fundamental value of the European Union and a key objective for all its policies and investment. More information here.

More information on the CoR's work on cohesion policy can be found on the COTER commission webpage and on the CoR webpage "Cohesion, our fundamental value".


Matteo Miglietta

Tel. +32 (0)470 895 382

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