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Cohesion policy produces results

Submitted by on 09 Jun 2011 – 11:56

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Minister of Regional Development of the Republic of Poland

The European Union needs to effectively return onto the path of sustainable economic growth and its global competitiveness. Rising to these challenges requires enormous institutional and financial capacity. Thus, Poland must not only take advantage of the opportunities offered by the existing EU policies, but streamline them at achieving specific outcomes.

Cohesion Policy guarantees a truly comprehensive approach to the problems of economic development. Its instruments allow to effectively tackle the new challenges faced by the EU, such as counteracting climate change, improving energy efficiency, adjustment to demographic changes and preventing the negative effects of globalization. It is the Cohesion Policy that serves to implement projects which are well in line with the objectives of Europe 2020 Strategy – building a green and innovative European economy. This is why we hold the opinion that new sectoral funds should not be created within nor separated from the Cohesion Policy. Managed from Brussels, these funds would never produce the same effects as structural funds – which are managed jointly by the authorities at the European, national, regional and local levels.

Universal nature of Cohesion Policy

Cohesion Policy is meant to level out inequalities and support development potential of different regions. Therefore, a strong Cohesion Policy should be maintained as a crucial element of the European socio-economic model.

Moreover, Cohesion Policy offers exhaustively tested implementation mechanisms which have operated in all EU regions. Tasks are divided across the government and self-government authorities, as well as local actors. Therefore, this unique system successfully activates the potential of local and regional initiatives and further develops civil society.

Because it is a reliable source of financing pro-development investments, Cohesion Policy does diminish the negative impact of the global crisis on real economy and life of the EU citizens. That is why a strategic long-term nature of investments in human capital, freedom of enterprise, infrastructure development, as well as innovation and modern energy carried out with Cohesion Policy funds needs to be preserved.

The future of Cohesion Policy

Cohesion Policy gives an impulse for a harmonious socio-economic growth of all regions and for improving the European citizens’ standard of life. This is also why this Policy must still be continued and the awaiting evolution and changes should strengthen it in terms of a more efficient spending. Efficiency as the key criterion in defining the scope and shape of the reform will determine the strength of influence of the Cohesion Policy on development processes across the EU and the added value of implemented measures.

Poland, as the largest beneficiary of EU funds, bears a great responsibility. Effective absorption of development-oriented co-financing allocated to Poland in the current budget will have considerable impact on the shape of EU Cohesion Policy after 2013. The efficiency of the use of structural funds in Poland will influence the ongoing debate in the EU on the necessity of reinforcing the Cohesion Policy. Our achievements show that it is a truly Europe-wide development policy.