Sustainable Prosperity for Europe

Economic governance


Can the EU structural funds reconcile growth, solidarity and stability objectives?

10 October 2017
Robin Huguenot-Noël (Policy Analyst), Alison Hunter (Senior Adviser to EPC on regional policy, regional innovation and industrial growth) and Fabian Zuleeg (Chief Executive and Chief Economist)



Yesterday, the Commission launched its 7th Cohesion Report in the context of the European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC). Today, EU Finance Ministers took stock of the 2017 ‘European Semester’ policy monitoring process with a view to making the exercise smoother and more effective.

As the debate concerning the post-2020 Cohesion Policy takes shape, the European Policy Centre (EPC) publishes a report that offers a fresh contribution and a new direction for the policy’s future at the heart of the EU’s economic growth agenda.

Our report examines the role played by conditionalities and how these have impacted perceptions and delivery of the EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESI).  We propose that the future Cohesion Policy be positioned within a more comprehensive EU economic governance system, encompassing all EU growth-enhancing policies and geared by a new EU growth strategy.

The paper seeks to reposition Cohesion Policy as the EU’s main lever towards both solidarity and investment in the context of the post-2020 financial framework. This report thus proposes to:

  • Strengthen the coherence between Cohesion Policy and the wider EU economic governance framework;
  • Re-position Cohesion Policy as an enabler for the delivery of the EU’s growth-enhancing reform agenda;
  • Acknowledge the different delivery capacities among EU member states and regions in the implementation of the EU structural and investment funds.

Our recommendations highlight how Cohesion Policy can help drive reforms and direct investments that will achieve greater economic and social benefits. They will give the Cohesion Policy community a new enabling environment to deliver on its economic, social and territorial cohesion objectives.

Click here to download the publication

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