The European Commission has proposed to modernise Cohesion Policy, the EU’s main investment policy, for the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027.

“Over the next decade, Cohesion Policy will help all regions modernise their industry and invest in innovation and the transition to a low-carbon, circular economy,” explained Vice-President responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen. “In addition, our proposal will further contribute to a business-friendly environment in Europe, setting the right conditions for growth, job creation and investment.”

With a budget of €373bn in commitments for 2021-2027, the future Cohesion Policy has the investment power to help regions that need to catch up with the rest of the EU, according to the Commission.

Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu stressed that the Cohesion Policy proposed will leave no one behind. “We have made it more flexible, to adapt to new priorities and better protect our citizens. We also made the rules simpler and this will benefit all, from small businesses and entrepreneurs to schools and hospitals that will get easier access to the funds.”

Under the Commission’s proposal, the bulk of EU development and cohesion funds will go towards innovation, support to small businesses, digital technologies and industrial modernisation. It will also go to the shift towards a low-carbon, circular economy and the fight against climate change, delivering on the Paris Agreement.

Also, regions still lagging behind in terms of growth or income – mostly located in the South and East of Europe – will continue to benefit from important EU support. Cohesion Policy will continue investing in all regions across Europe, including in richer member states that are struggling to achieve industrial transition, fight unemployment and hold their own in a globalised economy, noted the Commission in its press release.