eu regional policy

The regional policy of the European Union (EU) aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the EU. This is to be achieved by reducing structural disparities between the individual regions and by promoting balanced geographical development. EU regional policy is therefore a strategic investment policy. It is aimed at all regions and cities in the European Union to promote job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development and an improved quality of life for EU citizens. It is an expression of solidarity in action, as its focus is on supporting less developed regions.

In the current EU budget, the "Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020", 351,8 billion euros out of a total of 1.082 billion euros are available for EU regional policy. These funds are mainly used to finance strategic transport and communication infrastructure projects and to support the transition to a greener economy. There is also a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are supported in becoming more innovative and competitive. The aim is to create new and sustainable jobs, strengthen and modernise education systems and create a more inclusive society.

In May 2018, the European Commission presented the proposals for the next EU regional policy as of 2021. The proposals provide for a modernisation of cohesion policy and a total budget of 373 billion Euros. The European Commission estimates the Cohesion Policy allocations 2021-2027 for Austria at 1 279 708 248 Euros (2018 prices) and EUR 1 442 289 880 Euros (current prices). EU regional policy is subject to the so-called "ordinary legislative procedure" and is currently being negotiated between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. As far as its funding is concerned, it is dependent on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, which is also still under negotiation; an agreement is not expected to be reached before spring 2020.

After 2020, economically strong regions such as Carinthia will continue to be able to receive funding from EU regional policy. However, this cannot be taken for granted, as a number of decision-makers wanted to end regional subsidies for Europe's economically strong regions - which, in addition to Carinthia, includes seven other Austrian regions, and are thus of outstanding importance for Austria. It is not least thanks to the intensive lobbying efforts of the CoR and its Cohesion Alliance - which Carinthia is also a member of, and which has repeatedly reaffirmed and substantiated its argument that EU cohesion policy must continue to be a mainstay for the future of the EU - that the European Commission's proposals now continue to provide support for economically strong regions for the financial period 2021-2027.