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Debate on the future of Cohesion Policy

February 2024

Debate on the future of Cohesion Policy

In an era of rapid technological advancement and significant social and geopolitical changes, the EU faces considerable opportunities and challenges. In light of this, the recent report by the group of high-level specialists commissioned by the European Commission sets out key messages for the evolving debate on the future of Cohesion Policy. What role should Cohesion Policy play in the changes and transformations ahead?

The report stresses that there is no alternative to a strong Cohesion Policy. At its heart, the report advocates for a revitalised Cohesion Policy, one that not only addresses current disparities but is also agile enough to respond to future challenges. Cohesion Policy is instrumental in fostering unity and solidarity among people and places in the EU, ensuring that no region is left behind.

The report emphasises the importance of place-based, people-centric policies and underlines the critical role of collaboration across various levels of governance and policy areas to achieve a cohesive and resilient Europe. Also, Cohesion Policy needs to forge synergies with other EU and national initiatives to ensure that all policies deliver on their goals.

In late 2022, The European Commission invited 18 experts from academia and politics to draw up strategic recommendations on how to maximise the effectiveness of Cohesion Policy with a view to tackling the multiple challenges it faces. Over ten meetings, the group discussed various aspects of Cohesion Policy and possible future perspectives. The public parts of the meetings and the final report of the group can be reviewed on a dedicated website (Opens in a new window).

Why does the EU need cohesion?

The starting question of the report touches upon the very reason for cohesion and why it is essential for the EU. The EU’s commitment to cohesion is not merely a strategic choice but a fundamental necessity to ensure its prosperity, stability and unity:

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Topic Cohesion (policy)


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