The global economy is changing. With the rise of international migration, and the development of new transport and communication technologies, borders between countries are becoming less and less important. Increasingly, the world economy is more about cities and regions and less about countries.

Regions and cities around the world are competing with one another to attract foreign investment and skilled workers. Integrating into the global economy requires good connectivity and accessibility (both physically and digitally) via quality infrastructure, as well as an openness to trade, investment, competition, and human capital.

However, there are big challenges facing EU cities and regions in the race for this investment. They need to ensure their education systems are equipping workers with the right skills, that their economies promote innovation and entrepreneurship, and that migrants are well-integrated into society (as the rise of populist, anti-immigrant parties across Europe shows).

Is there a role for the EU to help regions compete in the global economy? The EU’s cohesion policy, through its cohesion fund, aims to reduce economic and social inequalities and promotes sustainable development in EU Member States with a Gross National Income (GNI) of less than 90% of the EU average.

Curious to know more about EU cohesion funds? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).We had a comment sent in from Dana, who wanted to know how EU cohesion policy could be changed to make it more effective.

To get a response, we spoke to Dr. Michael Schneider, President of the European People’s Party Group in the European Committee of the Regions (the EU’s assembly of regional and local representatives). What would he say?

Dana, this is a very good question. It’s a crucial question. We have to change cohesion policy to make it more effective. And what do we have to change? We have to change the bureaucratic burden that is laying upon cohesion policy. We have to simplify the use of structural funds, and then we will get much better results than we have today.

Next up, we had a comment from Jana, who believes there should be sanctions for breaking EU rules. Is she right? For example, should EU cohesion funds be conditional on implementing EU fiscal rules? What would Dr. Michael Schneider say?

I don’t think so, and the Committee of the Regions does not agree with this position. We think that cohesion funds must be used for special reasons, for reducing disparities between European regions. If Member States do not respect fiscal rules and macroeconomic rules, the European Union has to use different instruments to force Member States to respect these rules, but not punish the regions and local authorities.

How can cohesion policy #MakeEURegionsGreatAgain? What would you change about EU cohesion policy to make it more effective? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Rock Cohen
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75 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Αναγέννηση

    Establishment of a EU Defense Force creating a FORTRESS EUROPEAN UNION by upgrading , expanding the transforming the current European Security and Defense Policy of the European Union is critical to the success of a European Cohesion Policy

  2. Marko Martinović

    If cohesion accepts self destruction, than there is no saving it. So far we must pretend that opposite cultured can be cohesive. We must pretend that terror and rape epidemic is normal and usual. We must pretend that all cultures and religions are equal. We must pretend that it is our duty to house foreign people and diregard ourselves and our countrymen. We must pretend that no-go zones are fine. We must pretend that emotion should be regulated by state. We must pretend that we are free. We are not free or safe.

  3. Christofer Catilan

    There is no way for EU to make any success as long as such shameless politicians as Juncker can dominate the EU scene that much as he actually does which we’ve seen such a horrifying example of his bad behaviour in front of the EU parliament just a couple of days ago. That kind of politicians tear EU apart! Literally! But dreaming about better future is absolutely allowed! I wish you sweet dreams about cohesion policy! :-)

    • David Alan Roden

      Juncker on the occasion you mentioned was completely right

    • Christofer Catilan

      David Alan Roden You miss the point! I do NOT criticize what he says but how he behaves! For a very god reason even this parliament is the very place where totally opposite opinions may and can be expressed. That’s why no single member of the parliament has more power than to debate and vote amongst others when the parliament is working. Even if he was “thousand times” more right than anybody else present it is disgraceful to behave like that. His behaviour provokes destructive confrontation only, destructive regarding this particular topic “cohesion policy”, indeed!

    • Paul X

      I agree with Christofer, the unelected Juncker should learn his place, he has absolutely no right to critise the elected EU parliament

    • José Bessa da Silva

      We need a common market and nothing else. My prime-minister dealing on my behalf in said common market is what my people needs. What we don’t need is being told by a foreigner what to do and where my money should or not be spent.

    • Ivan Burrows


      NATO has kept the peace in ‘Europe’ & without it you would soon be at war with each other again.

    • Marco Bianchi

      I don’t think so. No one wants war among the EU memberstates!
      NATO is just the political and military tool with which the US control Europe and its foreign policy.
      Didn’t you notice that no European country dares to put into question the American foreign policy?
      Despite the latter has proven to be detrimental to the European interestes (i.e. destabilization of the Middle East, destruction of Iraq, Sirya and Libya), no European country has the courage to distance itself from the US and its policy. Why? Because we are not free and we can’t choose our foreign policy!

    • Paul X

      No country has to stay in NATO, European countries are not in it because they are in the EU but as individual members.
      Go ahead and campaign to have your country leave NATO but don’t expect the rest of Europe to follow….. (France left in the 60’s based on childish anti-American sentiment but later saw sense and rejoined)
      Basically, feel free to leave at any time, just don’t expect the remaining members to come and save you if the sh!t hits the fan

  4. Paolo Ortenzi

    Simply: 1) rediscover European roots and QUIT politically correct shit. 2) defend EU external borders 3) no more double standards for EU members: one for Germany and one for all the rest 4) stop wasting EU contributors money with TWO Parliaments (Bruxelles/Strasbourg a duplicate) 5) Held EU Commission accountable and elected by PEOPLE. 6) A new EU constitution were european people counts, not governments. Or like this or better having no EU.

    • Nikola Pashovski

      First the people of Russia have to help themselves. Time for a new revolution and the rise of the masses under the EU flag. :D

  5. Lynne Warner

    Stifling the voices of whole populations and cultures does not bring about cohesion. This just reminds me of the rising of Hitler again. The strongest economies have the biggest input. Laws are being written almost daily that force people willy nilly to accept them without a say. The agricultural stance and design sounds like Mao Tse Tung. I cannot see the benefit. Forcing people to get meaningless degrees in order to place them above experience and knowledge for which firms used to pay well but now ignore is going to backfire. It tells me that normal education is lacking for starters and degrees will soon become meaningless. And I haven’t even got started on a European army! Or the uncontrolled immigration.

  6. Dani Tamidrago

    Coeziune intre cine si cine …cand sunt tot mai vizibile legaturile stranse in interior iar la exterior (indiferent de locatie) trebuie sa ne prefacem ca oamenii sunt Liberi pretutindeni, sa ne prefacem ca suntem multumiti de tot ce ni se cere, sa ne prefacem ca suntem multumiti ca avem legi care trebuiesc respectate doar de “exterior” iar cei din interior nici macar sa-si asume Legile sau sa fie trasi la raspundere pentru incalcarea lor. Traim intr-o Europa cu lipsuri majore fata de care cei din interior se fac ca nu stiu ce se intampla in exterior lasand ca lucrurile sa se intample, evenimentele rele sa decurga dupa planurile si tactiile celor din interiorul regiunilor fiindca asa-i firesc. Fiecare Natie sa fie tratata pe masura si intelesul ei. In Romania, Romanii in proportie de 75% se prefac de mai bine de 27 de ani ca tind spre evolutie cand in realitate totul se naruie, decade si involueaza, dar ne prefacem si acceptam tot ceea ce ni se da cand, de fapt, nu primim nimic pentru a simti ca evoluam ca natie.Ne comparam cu alte tari, inventam povesti si vindem vise, investim in proasta calitate, ne uram unii pe altii, jucam teatru si cream scenarii , schilodim In_direct pentru a ne crea materia prima si suntem campioni in cresterea economica la consum (de proasta calitate), importam mai mult decat exportam si ne prefacem ca suntem o tara cu un popor tanar si muncitor in timp ce forta de munca tanara completeaza golurile …muncind in diverse/ alte tari(regiuni) pentru un trai decent iar in propria tara “ramasitele” imbatranite isi cara poverile consumand fara sa mai produca dar contribuie vizibil pe zi ce trece la cresterea URII dintre categoriile de varsta. Din pacate orice crestere economica are la baza productivitatea muncii (PM) insa termenul a fost rastalmacit/ inlocuit in asa fel incat, informatia falsa sa se propage si sa ne prefacem in continuare ca este 100% real (MANIPULARE). P.S. Articolul face referire la o analiza pertinenta insa problema schimbarilor la UE este de mentalitate si interpretare… raportate la informatii REALE nu FALSURI trimise de la exterior catre interior. :( Musai revizuita schema tehnica functionala interna cu fiecare membru care este insarcinat cu misiunea de-a transmite informatiile catre membrii care preiau informatiile si la randul lor le transmit in format nemodificat interioarelor de la exterior.

    • Nick Minescu

      Mai fratiaoooaaareee;dar ce zici tu aici?Ce te doare?Asa-i viata pe pamant;nu cum visam fiecare dar dupa cum putem…si,nu prea putem !!! Mici microbi care se cred stele:)

    • Dani Tamidrago

      Mda, ” un botz de AUR intr-un morman de kkt…esti sau nu Wi-Fi, musai sa te descurci! Ai Liberul arbitru!”

    • Mirela Moldovan

      Pai si cine e de vina Dani? In tara mai voteaza pensionarii si asistatii, care oricum sunt mult mai multi decat cei care sunt activi..

    • Dani Tamidrago

      In orice situatie nu-i musai sa fie cautati vinovatii ci Rezolvari. Toate se intampla cu un motiv pretutindeni insa atunci cand motivele enuntate prin Legi( pe toate planurile) forteaza omul sa faca alegeri, survin aspecte cu rezultate neplacuta pentru masa macro dar si pentru manipulatorii care forteaza “impingerea” luarii deciziilor indiferent despre ce ,tara, natie, locatie este vorba. Romanii au sarit din Lac in Put prin trecerea de la indoctrinarea Comunista peste noapte la o Democratie frageda si falsa. Falsa , da, (toate au un inceput bun sau trist)…iar cei care au preluat conducerea situatiei create (dupa lovitura de stat) aveau deja schema / planurile de LUCRU dupa care au lucrat transformand Romania la ceea ce este azi. Cine si cum au “lucrat”, se stiu insa acest soi de “Lant” au ales verigile capabile de manipulare la scara macro pentru a se produce divizarea populatiei, distrugerea valorilor materiale si morale transformand populatia in locuitori neputinciosi …mereu la mila celor care fac Legile. Legile sunt importante, desigur, insa contextul care le vizeaza si felul cum sunt impuse intru respectare de catre cetatean denota situatii care atesta materia prima functionala a propriilor scheme tehnice care stau la baza functionalitatii. Dreptul la vot il au toti cetatenii (pretutindeni), este parte pozitiva a Democratiei si nu vizeaza statut special de alegator (cu mici exceptii) pentru a-si exercita dreptul. Asistatii Sociali nu sunt rebuturi umane din proprie dorinta/ vointa ci datorita Sistemului si Legilor de viata la care au acces, prin oportunitatile (oferite de clasa politica) ce sunt dirijate catre masa macro a populatiei prin: creare de locuri de munca, prin contributiile salariale la justa valoare raportate la nivelul de trai al Cetateanului, accesul la informatii reale difuzate in timp si spatiu, prin sustinerea Educatiei si Sanatatii Populatiei cu mijloace SANATOASE samd. Neavand toate acestea, realitatea duce la lehamite, saracie, indobitocire, stagnarea cresterii natalitatii,…inlocuindu-le cu categoria celor cu “grad” de handicap sau imbatranite, neputincioase. Asistatii Sociali sunt tintele tuturor celor care dirijeaza scopuri si situatii, indiferent de tara sau Locatie. Asistatii Sociali sunt tot oameni din randul populatiei si foarte multi dintre ei survin din mediu saraciei datorita lipsurilor create prin desfiintarea multor fabrici si uzine la comanda, (externa) sunt oameni care n-au reusit sa lucreze 34-35 de ani pentru a intra in posesia unei pensii modeste ci au fost deviati (prin situatiile create voit) pe fagasul saraciei, neputintei pentru …EXCLUZIUNEA lor din randul Societatii Civile, milti au fost selectati pe diverse criterii…(no comment)… adaptandu-se la minime resurse materiale (in baza LEGII…si pe articole x y z) . Omul / Cetateanul cu statut de Asistat Social este contribuabilul de ieri ( a cotizatie) la Bugetul de Stat pe vremea cand avea un loc de munca,. Din acei bani s au HRANIT Generatiile tinere ale acestei tari pentru ca astazi… (parte dintre ei) sa -i conduca, injure, batjocoreasca, sa le dea cu sutu-n c*r dupa alegeri. Un popor divizat ca Natie cuprinde toate categoriile sociale…si cele mai vizibile sunt aspectele negative care influenteaza minti/ creiere,( de sus in jos/ chiar si la UE) lasand impresii, creand diversiuni si manipulari….fara drept de alegeri personale. :( Trista natie sec. XXI <3 P.S. Cu anul 20017 s-a inceput o noua era Mondiala care vizeaza evolutia Universala pe toate planurile : Politice, Economice, Sociale, Finaciare samd. Romania face parte din acest program de dezvoltare / rearanjare a vietii pe fagasul normal si musai o analiza temeinica cu masuri pozitive simtitoare in cresterea nivelului de trai deoarece anul 2019 este unul decisiv la parghiile UE...fapt care multor tari nu o sa le fie pe plac. Ce creste si initiaza Politic-Economic si Social in acesti ani influenteaza prin rezultate la scara Universala. Romania este Tara tuturor posibilitatilor/ dispunem de resurse valoroase in randul Populatiei insa multi inca isi dau coate, umbla pe "sustache" , isi dau branci ei intre ei" distragand atentii si ...multe se duc de rapa sperand in vise si vanzand calitate proasta in tot ce consuma. Ziua buna si minte luminata, tuturor!

    • catherine benning

      @ Dani Tamidrago

      We are all pretending Dani. Every one of us turning a blind eye, not willing to save ourselves from cultural suicide. With the biggest and wildest of all the pretenders being those leading us to what is supposed to be good for all of us. When in fact, they are akin to the Pied Piper, leading us like children over a cliff to our planned demise.

    • Ivan Burrows


      Ein Volk Ein Reich Ein Fuhrer !

      Sound familiar ?

    • Nick Minescu

      Ivan Burrows Tavarisci Ivan;Furer?aber nicht;mais,Cesar,oui biensur,hahahahahaaaaa…pige?!

    • Nick Minescu

      José Bessa da Silva oh amigo podes falar … nao importe a ninguem…

  7. Yordan Vasilev

    I think, that the cohesion funds should pay to poorer regions more and to richer ones less. We ought to make this, because of solidarity in Europe. We should use the worker and the intlectual forces equable in all Member States. This will be good for all.

  8. Swami Dhyan Sumeru

    with the rise of international migration ,,is this how the MEPs see the bombing destruction murder they have voted on as being migration really is this a joke page ,,its not migration is running for youre life cause the EU is bombing the shit out of the town ou use to live in

  9. EU Reform- Proactive

    * ………“big challenges are facing EU cities and regions”. In fact its applicable around the whole globe!

    But please explain, why must the EU put its nose & its sticker on everything in Europe? Development of deserving & viable projects can and are done without the oversight & FORCE of the EU in Europe and globally!

    *……. “Is there a role for the EU to help regions?” YES & NO! Why? One can create an artificial role if one so chooses- to become & stay relevant. The EU decided to be relevant- although unnecessarily so- that’s why!

    Collective planning would not require an EU or expensive EU organs- stick to trade.

    * EU’s Dr. Michael Schneider gives it away:…….”the EU has to use different instruments to FORCE {(shudder, shudder)- (“more effective- less bureaucratic”- yes, agreed)} Member States to respect these rules, but not punish the regions and local authorities.” Very dangerous Dr. Schneider!

    Yes, Dr. by ignoring & circumventing the last remaining national competences of National parliamentary oversight over cities & regions- until the EU abolishes them as well.

    If individual rich countries wish to be generous to distribute “grants” to deserving parties- they will do so and can/should have an input.

    If the funds are a loan & repayable- the (re) payer has the final say. At this moment all funds are pooled by Member Nations & redistributed through an expensive process- called EU cohesion policy. Why? Slogans! Unacceptable & unnecessarily so!

    Examples of international financial institution who are eager to fund projects globally.

    The German KfW Development Bank does & says: We support development programs in developing and emerging economies around the globe- including Europe! Why would one need another EU bureaucratic layer & EU officials to decide and manage development in the EU- or anywhere in Europe? DB’s do it as “a service”- can assess, plan & provide funding & structure repayments.

    The KfW would be a good vehicle- if the EU Suzerain would allow to be sidelined. But – they won’t allow that anymore! Too late!

  10. Jean Charles Branco

    1- Deport all imigrants out of europe 2- inquisition in europe to put up good europeans values 3- send traitors to tribunal to hold responsability for tragedy

  11. Jean Charles Branco

    dictature of bruxells is to push down europe, we need to end bruxells evil dictature. we need a new europe, to push Europe Up Up Up

  12. Daniel Meternă

    Must be jock, right? As long as Romania comply with ALL the standards, I think is an HUGE HYPOCRISY to debate something like this, not just hypocritical, but cynical too. Why only Holland is against for Romania not to join Schengen? Because is conditioning the entrance for take it the harbour of Constanța (harbour with tremendous economic potential) in his hand? Get of your filthy hands from Romania and his resources.

    • Boris Krumov

      *joke ! EU is a joke, jockey !

    • Mirela Moldovan

      Hey Daniel, did you forget the fact that we have no roads and infrastructure and the way the country is ran at the moment we won’t have soon?.. wake up!! o.O

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Daniel Meternă
      Romania is very, very corrupt.

      Northern EU countries give Romania money.

      Northern EU countries civilise Romania.

      Why can’t Romanians wait a few decades to change their country’s outlook from being epidemically corrupt to just endemically corrupt?

    • Daniel Meternă

      That’s the technique of small steps: first they get use to it with “gentile” terms, after they prepared our brains, they begin to wash our brains with thing like: the population of Europe is getting old (of course, if the economic level doesn’t grow, or in just some country’s like Germany) and for that we have to receive muslims (!)), in order to implement USE (United States of Europe) in order to wash away the national identity of the Europens country’s.

    • Luigina Perriello

      Noone is forsing you and germany to take muslisms. You must ask Angela merkel about.

  13. César García

    The easiest way is sending the EU to Hell and coming back to national strategic policies. And no illegal inmigration. Zero.

  14. ironworker

    No, EU cohesion policy doesn’t make “regions” Great Again. Cohesion policy should be applied to nations not “regions”. Nice try though, dividing nations into “regions” and rule them easily. Not gonna happen anytime soon.

  15. Margarita G. Soto

    Keep trying wach, closely the countries that do not comply with the rules and make a EU. Responsable. Correcting old mistakes.

  16. Piedade Luisa Pinho

    There will be no Europe. There will be european countries. The poltician’s greed just ruinned every chance of a political Europe. They have ignored each country’s believes and identity.
    A family only can be strong when each member is complete, confident and enlightned. They have taught us that we must not trust on others to take care of our own problems.

  17. Soner Engin

    Eu is thinking that hmans and animals have no difference,But they have.The animals never forget a goodness but humans very quickly forget all the goodness even if you give them life.

  18. José Bessa da Silva

    “Euroregions”? You mean those rediculous attemts to break up the borders to try and break nation-states like mine? Right. Good luck with that.

  19. EU Reform- Proactive

    Food for thought:

    Is the slogan “cohesion policy” nothing more than political dishonest propaganda, unethical lobbying or downright sinister information?

    Should that also be classified “hate speech” and heavily fined- since it is an abuse against all voters- classifying them as “useful idiots”? Check why it could be:……….

    Discover how Britsh firm Bell Pottinger-
    – offers to help clients shape EU law, despite a ban on business involvement!

  20. catherine benning

    And would someone please tell me what ‘Regions’ you are addressing? I was unaware of any EU regions. Especially ones in need suggestions for a cohesion policy.

    Exit from these so called regions is the best cohesion policy the citizens of Europe have. A return to their sovereign nations is the only saviour from ultimate destruction they can hope for.

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