Structural Funds

Socio-economic cohesion has been for years now one of the key priorities of the European Union. Its objective is to diminish major economic and social disparities existing among different European regions and Member States. Implementing Cohesion Policy, the EU promotes balanced and long-term economic development, including the development of sustainable and environmentally efficient urban mobility and public transport. Ever since, UITP has been fully supporting this process, providing its CEEC members with meritoric and advisory assistance regarding a balanced distribution of available funds and the investments in the public transport sector.

In order to gain the momentum and push the cohesion forward, the Commission has created two major instruments - the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund - which part-finance national and regional development programmes in the Member States, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. It’s worth mentioning that both financial instruments make up the second largest items of the EU budget (€348bn for the 2007-2014 programming period) and as such are also the key drivers behind the EU regional policy.

The Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund have been designed to target particularly new Members States from Central and Eastern Europe (EU-13). The Cohesion Fund applies to countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) of less than 90% of the EU average and puts forward cohesion priorities such as improving the overall attractiveness of the Members States, also by improving mobility, accessibility and  transport infrastructure, investing in the knowledge economy, competitiveness and innovation as well as creating more employment and encouraging entrepreneurship.

Since 2007, Poland has been the largest recipient of the support from Cohesion Policy among all EU countries. In the period of 2014-2020, Poland will receive around €82.5bn, out of which around 8% will be dedicated to urban, suburban and regional public transport investments. The second largest beneficiary of European funds in Central and Eastern Europe is Romania with €21.7bn, while third and fourth are respectively the Czech Republic (€20.5bn) and Hungary(€20.4bn).

 

Useful documents:

September 2013: European Commission – Inforegion: Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 (all languages)

September 2013: Cohesion Fund eligibility 2014-2020, European Commission (all languages)

August 2012: The genesis of the debate on Cohesion Policy after 2013 in Poland, Ministry of Regional Development of the Republic of Poland (EN/PL)

Winter 2011-2012: EC Panorama Inforegion (nr 40): Cohesion Policy 2014-2020: Investing in Europe’s regions (EN)

October 2011: EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020: Proposals from the European Commission (EN)

2010: Oto Potluka et al., Impact of EU Cohesion Policy in Central Europe, Leipziger Universitätsverlag (EN)