Cohesion Policy funding in 2021-2027 is expected to support the creation of 1.3 million jobs, and to increase the EU’s GDP by 0.5% on average by the end of the decade, and up to 4% in some Member States. It will also help deliver many common public goods, providing tangible and concrete benefits to European citizens, regions and cities. These are some of the conclusions of a report on the outcome of the 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy programming published today.
To make this happen, Cohesion Policy will unleash a total volume of investments of €545 billion during this period, of which €378 billion are funded by the EU. These investments will promote lasting socio-economic convergence, territorial cohesion, a social and inclusive Europe and a smooth and fair green and digital transition.
A smarter and more competitive Europe
Cohesion Policy strongly supports research and innovation and addresses the digital divide. For example, 83,000 researchers will have access to improved research facilities while 725,000 companieswill be supported for innovation and smart growth.
The Policy aims to support the modernisation and digitisation of public services (involving 22,500 public administrations) and the digital transformation of businesses. It is also supporting the development of digital skills and infrastructure, including through the connection of 3.1 million households to high-speed mobile networks and fixed digital infrastructure.
Towards a net-zero carbon economy and more resilient Europe
Green investments in climate mitigation and adaptation are focussing on the objectives of the European Green Deal to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and reach climate neutrality by 2050.
For that, Cohesion Policy supports projects in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy which are particularly important to implement key actions under the REPowerEU plan. For example, 32 million m2 of public buildings and 723,000 households are expected to benefit from energy performance improvements while 9,555 MW of additional renewable energy capacity will be installed.
To support climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, the Policy will support the building of 229,000 hectares of new green infrastructure.
Sustainable urban mobility will also be supported by including 1,230 km of new and modernised tram and metro lines, and 12,200 km of cycling infrastructure.
Clean water and improved wastewater infrastructure will reach 16.4 million people through Cohesion investments.
Towards a just transition
Cohesion Policy helps people and territories most impacted by the transition to climate neutrality to help ensure that nobody is left behind.
It will therefore support almost 39,000 enterprises to embrace this transition. In particular, more than 5,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will benefit from investments in new skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship. Up to 120,000 unemployed people will benefit from labour market support measures and almost 200,000 people will gain new qualifications.
A more social and inclusive Europe
To ensure social and inclusive growth, and in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights, Cohesion funds support people, including in their professional lives. This includes the development of skills and lifelong learning – crucial priorities in this European Year of Skills – of at least 6.5 million unemployed people. This will help reach the 2030 EU target of at least 60% of all adults participating in training every year.
A particular focus is given to improving the integration and inclusion of more than 3 million people, including 600,000 people in marginalised groups such as Roma. The funds will also support 1.7 million pupils in primary and secondary education, while almost 3.5 million people are expected to study in new or modernised education facilities.
Health and long-term care, including infrastructure and equipment, will benefit from important improvements, while 60 million patients are expected to receive medical advice or treatment in new or modernised healthcare facilities.
A more connected Europe
Cohesion Policy will support efficient transport systems at all territorial levels, such as rail, one of the safest and cleanest modes of transport: 3,900 km of Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) railway lines will be built or modernised.
Finally, thanks to programmes across the EU and its neighbours under the European Territorial Cooperation, funds will be invested in joint projects involving more than 2 million persons, 40,299 organisations and 25,456 SMEs.
Cohesion Policy is the main long-term investment instrument in the EU. It contributes to strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU, corrects imbalances between countries and regions and delivers on the Union’s political priorities.
Cohesion Policy is implemented by several funds:
- The European Regional Development Fund, investing in the social and economic development of all EU regions and cities.
- The Cohesion Fund, investing in environment and transport in the less prosperous EU countries.
- The European Social Fund Plus, supporting jobs and creating a fair and socially inclusive society in the EU.
- The Just Transition Fund supporting the regions most affected by the transition towards climate neutrality.
The policy objectives are:
- a more competitive and smarter Europe;
- a greener, low‑carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe;
- a more connected Europe by enhancing mobility;
- a more social and inclusive Europe;
- a Europe closer to citizens for a bottom-up, place-based approach by empowering sub-regional territories and local communities to identify their own priorities and projects in an integrated and participatory way;
- a just transition towards the Union’s 2030 targets for energy and climate and a climate‑neutral economy of the Union by 2050, based on the Paris Agreement.
Cohesion Policy’s contribution to forge and ever stronger Union is beyond question. This report shows concrete outcomes and what we can expect from Cohesion investments on the ground for the coming years. A more competitive, smarter, greener, more connected, and more inclusive Europe is our future also thanks to Cohesion funds.
Cohesion Policy is what brings all regions of the European Union closer together. It helps us build a more social and inclusive Europe. It invests in people: in digital equipment for schools, in long-term care for vulnerable people, and in integrating marginalised groups into society, and in helping people into work. We should all be proud of what the cohesion funds make possible every day all across Europe.
Contacts for media
Stefan DE KEERSMAECKERPhone+32 2 298 46 80
Veronica FAVALLIPhone+32 2 298 72 69