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Regions & Cities 2018: A deep dive into the EU regional funds

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  • European
  • Regions
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  • Cohesion
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  • Euobserver
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The European Union has allocated around €350bn for the 2014-2020 period to cohesion policy – accounting for a full third of the EU budget. Only the EU's agriculture policy receives more.

euobserver EDITORIAL

euobserver EDITORIAL ADDRESS EUobserver Magazine Rue Montoyer 18B 1000 Brussels Belgium contact@euobserver.com Editor Editor: Peter Teffer Editorial contributions: Eric Maurice, Nikolaj Nielsen, Peter Teffer, Eszter Zalan. ARTICLE LAYOUT A deep dive into the EU regional funds The European Union has allocated around €350bn for the 2014-2020 period to cohesion policy – accounting for a full third of the EU budget. Only the EU's agriculture policy receives more. Considering the size of the funds – aimed at improving the economic situation in the EU's regions – the attention us journalists give them is disproportionately little. Part of the reason is that it is difficult to determine how successful the funds are, as Eszter Zalan explains in her article. Art director: Tobias Andreasen ADVERTISING EUobserver Magazine Rue Montoyer 18B 1000 Brussels Belgium advertising@euobserver.com DISTRIBUTION EUobserver Magazine Rue Montoyer 18B 1000 Brussels Belgium Henner Sorg hsorg@euobserver.com PUBLISHER EUobserver.com ASBL www.euobserver.com MAKING SENSE OF THE EU EUobserver is an independent online newspaper which values free thinking and plain speech. We aim to support European democracy by giving people the information they need to hold the EU establishment to account. HIGH QUALITY JOURNALISM EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established in Brussels in 2000. Our team of experienced journalists file daily news reports from the EU capital and do in-depth investigations on topics of special interest. If you want EUobserver to look into a specific issue, please contact our editors. We protect our sources. Cover Photo Peter Teffer But it could also be that journalists have some attitudes in common with fraudbusters. The recipient regions are far away for Brussels-based reporters, while local ones may perhaps give higher priority to investigating proper spending of the national budget, than of the EU budget. Some argue that there is simply "too much money". Just before this magazine went to print, the European Court of Auditors published a report saying that there is not enough focus on what projects that received funding actually achieved. And I myself was quite surprised that in the rich Dutch city of Amsterdam EU funding was spent on the development of a hotel. But the European commissioner in charge of regional policy, Corina Cretu, told Eric Maurice that the rich regions should continue receiving cohesion money. "Even in the richest regions we have pockets of poverty," she said. Finally, you will read articles by Nikolaj Nielsen and Eszter Zalan about the future of cohesion policy, discussing what level of government will be in charge and how much budget cuts the funds will face. Happy reading! Peter Teffer Independent and investigative journalism requires your financial support. Please consider becoming a member of EUobserver. Go to our website and sign up. www.euobserver.com

A tourist's guide to EU-funded Amsterdam Photo: Peter Teffer When it comes to projects paid for by EU regional funds, most people think of roads in Romania or bridges in Bulgaria. But richer regions also receive money. EUobserver takes you on a tour of selected projects in Amsterdam. By Peter Teffer Start your visit to Amsterdam on the northern side of the Dutch capital's central train station by taking the free ferry across the IJ river. As you approach the northern part of Amsterdam, you will see a large white building, which some say looks like a frog. "The Eye" film institute's new building, opened in 2012, cost around €38m. It received €1.5m of EU funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The ERDF has distributed more cash in 'Amsterdam Noord' - an area which because of its watery separation from the rest of Amsterdam was for a long time seen as not truly belonging to the city. But several big industrial players departed the waterfront, leaving it open for new development. Housing cooperative Open Haard received €2.7m to modernise an area of mostly abandoned company buildings. According to area developer Bart Bozelie the project – which also received €10m in private investment – has helped put the northern district on the map. "The ERDF subsidy definitively contributed to that," he told EUobserver in an emailed statement. He said that the project would have gone ahead anyway without the ERDF subsidy, but then it would have had "a lower ambition level". During the current funding period (ie 2014-2020), 03 — REGIONS & CITIES 2018

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