Year by year, several thousands of projects in all Member States receive funding through the European Cohesion Policy and contribute to:
- the catching-up of poor regions,
- the increase of regional competitiveness and
- the creation of jobs.
The selection of these projects is based on the analysis of the needs and development perspectives of regional economies, and it is carried out by regional and national authorities in the framework of an EU-wide strategic approach.
The outcome of the funds’ interventions is measured by both Member States and the European Commission. Evaluations show that between 1988 and 2001 the gap between the poorest regions and the EU average was reduced by one-sixth. For example, the increase in the level of GDP due to Cohesion Policy was 10% in Greece and 8.5% in Portugal between 1989 and 1999. The projected increase for both countries in the current period 2000-2006 is about 6%. Concerning the 2007-2013 period, recent research suggests that additional
GDP growth in the new Member States will be in the order of about 7-12% and that 2.5 million new jobs could be created.
You do not need to look at the work which has been done for long to realise that a lot of projects have been successfully completed and that they have indeed made a big difference. Look at Athens where a Community-funded suburban railway has made the brand new airport accessible and where trams, extended metros and a ring road have helped make the
city’s sky bluer by reducing pollution.
Look at the new water distribution and treatment systems which are going into Polish, Lithuanian and Estonian cities. Look at the business and high-tech clusters which have been encouraged in Sweden, Finland, Germany, France and Ireland.