European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu took part of the “Next generation of EU Funds programmes” session during the past European Week of Regions and Cities 2018, held in Brussels.

Commissioner Crețu said: “I am proud of the proposal for the new Cohesion Policy that we presented in May, which was aimed at a more modern, flexible and simplified policy. But our work is not yet finished. If investments are to start as early as 2021, we must now think about the next programmes”.

During her speech, Crețu highlighted three main points: First, EU´s regional policy should adapt to every specific need of every region and will not leave any one behind. Also, modern policy will focus on the twin priorities of modernising the economy and moving to a low carbon economy. Finally, she emphasized the need for a more flexible policy which speeds up implementation:

A smarter Europe: Investments are a priority if we want our regions to remain competitive. National authorities and regions must start reflections now on smart specialisation strategies and innovation strategies based on local strengths. They should also focus on finance and clustering for SMEs, on how to help digitisation for citizens, business and government, and on training in the skills of tomorrow.

A greener, low carbon Europe: Regions should start reflecting now on how to achieve better energy efficiency and a greater use of renewables to manage the transition to a circular economy with smarter energy systems. Europe has the potential to lead the world in these technologies.

A Europe closer to citizens: Regions should reflect on community-led local development; local strategies, targeting local issues, fully involving local authorities and local people. This must be deeply rooted in our programmes, whether the area is urban or rural, island or mountain.

Building administrative capacity: We have provided a series of tools: PEER2PEER the public procurement action plan, the state aid action plan, and, in the next period, the reform support instrument. National authorities and regions must start reflections now, on how best to use those tools.

You can find here a video of all the statements given during the opening of the EWRC 2018, and the abstract of Corina Crețu´s speech here. Find more information on the major Cohesion Policy projects in your country in these fact sheets.