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

  • Text
  • European
  • Regions
  • Funds
  • Cohesion
  • Cities
  • Regional
  • Countries
  • Euobserver
  • Funding
  • Eastern
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.

Darvas said

Darvas said there is a need for increasing the amount of aid that needs to be refunded, thus making stakeholders more interested in what they invest in, if the money needs to be paid back. Darvas added that some of the proposals in the new long-term EU budget plan put forward by the commission in May might help efficiency: such as the rule of law mechanism, or channeling more money through the cohesion policy's regional fund, thus targeting regions directly. grow, hence the need to rebalance that. Central and eastern member states opened their markets, and shut down industries, because of EU integration, resulting in job losses, while the growing imports stimulated the economies of the West. Darvas of the Bruegel think-tank describes this as a comprehensive political bargain, made at the time most central and eastern European joined the EU in 2004: open markets in return for compensation. POLITICAL DEAL Perhaps the cohesion policy's effectiveness cannot always be expressed in mere numbers. "Another reason [behind cohesion] was compensation for economic integration to the EU," Szepesi added, highlighting the political deal underpinning the policy - which makes it again more difficult to measure its effectiveness. As 'core Europe', western member states accumulate capital and a labour force, the AD_127549_Kent_Brussels_EU economic difference Observer.qxp_A5_L with the periphery 07/09/2018 is bound 13:49 to Page 1 Recipient countries use the argument in budget talks today to argue that net payers benefit hugely from cohesion funds through procurement contracts and the opening of new markets. Cohesion euros trickle back to where they came from. The complex system of cohesion of funding, and its political image as an EU "sacred cow" might make it unpopular among policy-makers, but it is a symbol of the EU solidarity that is in scarce supply on the political market of today's Europe. INTERNATIONAL STUDIES SHORT COURSES, MASTER’S AND PHDS Career focused flexible study at a UK university based in Brussels for over 20 years MA, LLM, PhD and short courses: • EU External Relations • Human Rights Law • International Conflict and Security • International Development • International Law • International Migration • International Political Economy • International Relations • Political Strategy and Communication • Two Capitals Exchange January and September admissions for full and part-time study and you can combine two fields of study leading to a degree that reflects both disciplines. Contact us to find out more T: +32 2 641 1721 E: bsis@kent.ac.uk www.kent.ac.uk/brussels 28 — REGIONS & CITIES 2018

'Integration' –the missing factor in new EU migration fund An estimated 80 percent of Syrian refugees in the EU are unemployed - despite this, the integration of asylum seekers and migration remains outside the European Commission's policy objectives in its latest budget proposals for regional development and cohesion policy. By Nikolaj Nielsen Earlier this year, Athens' mayor Georgios Kaminis was in Brussels to plead his case on how to best integrate migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. "We have the responsibility, we have the burden, so I think we deserve to have the right to direct access of European funds," he told EUobserver, following the public hearing at the European Parliament in mid-May. With an estimated 80 percent of Syrian refugees in the EU unemployed, the integration of migrants and refugees remains a big issue for cities and regions. Because of it, Kaminis says EU funding needs to be organised in such a way that local authorities are entitled to distribute it. "It would lead to more efficient cooperation between governments and regional and local authorities," he said. The Greek mayor's comments came a few weeks before the commission announced the new EU 'multi-annual financial framework' budget for the next seven years, that will include migration as a new criteria when assessing how much will be allocated from the cohesion fund. SHOW ME THE MONEY None of the objectives under the new cohesion funds proposal highlight integration as a policy goal, but instead focus on things like innovation and clean energy. The European commission in its new budget proposal for regional development and cohesion policy has promised local authorities greater involvement and ownership of EU funded projects - but as yet no direct access. It also says local and regional levels of government, including civil society, should receive as much support as possible when it comes to integration. The commission is instead proposing a new 29 — REGIONS & CITIES 2018

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