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New Cohesion Report shows differences between EU regions narrowing thanks to EU support

New Cohesion Report shows differences between EU regions narrowing thanks to EU support

The 8th Cohesion Report shows that cohesion policy has helped to narrow territorial & social disparities between EU regions.

Thanks to assistance from Cohesion funding, the GDP per capita of less developed regions is expected to increase by up to 5% by 2023. The same investments also supported a 3.5% reduction in the gap between the GDP per capita of the 10% least developed regions and the 10% most developed regions.

The report also shows that, thanks to its flexibility, Cohesion policy provided much needed and very swift support to Member States, regional and local authorities in the midst of economic slowdowns and the worst crisis of recent times.

The new 2021-27 Cohesion policy programmes will continue to invest in regions and in people, in close coordination with the financial firepower of the NextGenerationEU package. 

Additional main findings

  • Cohesion policy became a more important source of investment. Cohesion funding grew from the equivalent of 34% to 52% of total public investment from the 2007-13 period to the 2014-20 period
  • Since 2001, less developed regions in Eastern Europe have been catching up with the rest of the EU, however, many middle-income and less developed regions, especially in southern & south-western EU have suffered from economic stagnation or decline
  • Convergence between Member States has accelerated but internal regional disparities within the fast-growing Member States have increased
  • Employment has been growing but regional disparities remain larger than before 2008
  • Number of people at risk of poverty & social exclusion fell by 17 million between 2012 and 2019
  • Regional innovation divide in Europe has grown, due to a lack of investment in R&D and weaknesses in innovation ecosystems of least developed regions
  • EU population is ageing and will start shrinking in the years to come. In 2020, 34% of the EU population lived in a shrinking region. This is projected to reach 51% in 2040

 

Next steps

The 8th Cohesion Report will feed the discussions at the upcoming Cohesion Forum on 17-18 March which brings together representatives of EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities from all Member States, social and economic partners, non-governmental organisations and academia. The Forum will debate how Cohesion policy can ensure that no region is left behind in the ongoing structural changes and that all regions can reap the benefits of the green and digital transitions. 

Download the report here.

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