Investment for lasting growth and jobs: development and good governance in the spotlight at the Sixth Cohesion Forum

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European Commission - IP/14/969   05/09/2014

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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 5 September 2014

Investment for lasting growth and jobs: development and good governance in the spotlight at the Sixth Cohesion Forum

The key role of the EU's new Cohesion Policy in promoting growth and job creation in Europe's regions and cities is at the core of the high-level Sixth Cohesion Forum debates which are set to take place in Brussels on 8-9 September 2014. Cohesion Policy is now the main investment instrument of the EU aimed at reducing economic and social disparities across European regions, boosting their competiveness and achieving the wider Europe 2020 goals.

With a total budget of around €352 billion for the 2014–2020 financial period, Cohesion Policy will play a vital role in key areas for sustainable, long-term growth such as innovation, support to SMEs, improving people's qualifications, social inclusion and energy. Organised every three years, the Cohesion Forum gathers top policy-makers and political players from the EU Member States to assess the success of Cohesion Policy in delivering on its aims. The Forum comes at a vital time: as the so called Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes are being agreed. This year's theme is "Investment for jobs and growth: promoting development and good governance in EU regions and cities'.

Launching the event, Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn will be joined by Laimdota Straujuma, Prime Minister of Latvia, and Sandro Gozi, Representative of the Presidency of the Council of the EU and Italian Secretary of State for European Affairs. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, Michel Lebrun, President of the Committee of the Regions, Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Economic and Monetary affairs and the Euro and A. Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate for Economic Sciences will also take part in the Forum.

Speaking ahead of the event, Commissioner Hahn said: "Cohesion Policy is the EU's main investment policy. In this it has expanded, though by no means deserted, its original aim to support Europe's poorer regions. Our reforms, reflected in the Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes, equip the policy to invest in Europe's real economy and to achieve the EU's wider goals: of employment, energy security, a cleaner environment and lasting growth. It is encouraging to see from EU member states' plans, that in 2014-2020 investments will be more directed at boosting innovation, supporting SMEs, creating jobs and promoting green growth and competitiveness in our regions. We can and must respond to the challenges our countries and citizens face, especially in these difficult economic times. To this end, the Cohesion Forum is an ideal opportunity for national, regional and local representatives - as well as other stakeholders, to exchange ideas on future priorities and needs."

The two-day event will look also at another key issue: the need for good governance – both in terms of more efficient and transparent administrations and of sound macro‑economic policies. According to the Sixth Cohesion Report, published in July 2014, Member States plan in their Partnership Agreements an increase of 70% in investment to improve the institutional capacity of public authorities, reflecting the increasing importance of administrative modernisation to ensure the efficient use of public resources.

A preliminary assessment based on the Partnership Agreements – of which 16 of 28 have been adopted – reveals some encouraging trends on planned EU investments under Cohesion Policy to support innovation and small businesses, as well as an increase in the use of financial instruments. Crucially, investments for energy efficiency and renewables are expected to exceed €38 billion – which is more than double the amount invested in the low-carbon economy in 2007-2013.

Background:

During the Forum, three panels, involving key EU, national and regional figures will focus on improving the effectiveness of Cohesion Policy in Member States.

More information (including the media programme, a summary of the 6th Cohesion report) on the Sixth Cohesion Forum can be found on the website. Journalists who wish to attend are invited to register ahead of the event which will take place in the Charlemagne Building, Rue de la Loi 170, Brussels.

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