On 22 January, members of EURADA’s Board of Directors and two leading Interreg Europe Project coordinators met with Director General Marc Lemaître of the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission.

At the Directorate General’s headquarters, the afternoon meeting’s discussions focused on the future of Cohesion Policy and European Structural Funds (ESIF).

There was a great variety of perspectives present thanks to the diverse nature of regional development across the EU. From those who are most engaged with ESIF (Regional and National Managing Authorities) to direct beneficiaries of EU Cohesion Policy, expert opinion was shared with the Director General and policymakers from the Directorate General. Two Interreg Europe project coordinators, Frédéric Pinna and Elżbieta Książek, were present and offered their practical experiences and perspectives from Interreg Europe Projects (Beyond EDP and ESSPO).

In this comprehensive and thorough exchange between practitioners and policymakers, EURADA and its members highlighted that development agencies consider EU Cohesion Policy as a necessary guarantor of sustainable inclusive growth. Likewise, ESIF was presented as a funding structure which empowers development agencies and local stakeholders as direct beneficiaries of EU Cohesion policy., During the discussions and looking to the future there was an emphasis on ensuring stability where goals, and not processes, take precedent to avoid significant regulatory adjustments and simplification will be sought. As far as thematic priorities are concerned, innovation was considered as important for the future.