New EC Cohesion Report fuels discussion on next MFF
The European Commission published its 7th Cohesion Report on 9 October 2017. The report analyses the current state of the EU's economic, social and territorial cohesion and finds that Europe's economy is bouncing back, but that disparities persist between and within our Member States. Public investment in the EU is still below pre-crisis levels but regions and Member States need even more support to take up the challenges identified in the reflection paper on the future of EU finances; the digital revolution, globalisation, demographic change and social cohesion, economic convergence and climate change.
The report suggests an EU-wide policy serving three main purposes: harnessing globalisation, leaving no one behind and supporting structural reforms. Under the heading of "Harnessing Globalisation", it also addresses research and innovation, stating that "to hold their own in a globalised economy, regions need to modernise their economies and create value. As only a handful of EU regions can today lead the way, further investments are needed in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation. In addition to funding, efficient links should be fostered between research centres, businesses and services".
The Commission announced that a public consultation on the future Cohesion Policy will be launched in early 2018. In May 2018, the Commission's proposal for the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) will be presented, followed by the proposals for Cohesion Policy after 2020.
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