Red tape holding back EU regional development and cohesion, MEPs warn

12 Feb 16

MEPs from the European Union’s committee of the regions have warned that the bloc’s regional policy is being hindered by red tape, lack of coordination and overly complex rules.


Regional policy is the EU’s main investment instrument and targets all regions and cities in the union in order to support job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved quality of life.

In a debate with members of the committee of the regions, European commissioner Corina Creţu stressed that dialogue with regional and local leaders is of “utmost importance” as the EU goes through one of the most difficult crises of its history. Cohesion policy could be part of the answer, she suggested.

But the committee highlighted that the impact of the €350bn cohesion policy, which is behind hundreds of thousands of EU-funded projects, in particular is being diluted.

“EU regional policy is an investment tool, not a subsidy, and only by working together, cutting red tape, and simplifying rules can we make them more effective,” said committee president Markku Markkula.

“Lack of coordination between European institutions, national governments, regions and cities and the complexity of rules is still diluting its impact. This needs to change if cohesion policy is to deliver growth and bottom-up innovation.”

The committee of the regions also argued that environmental quality, social inclusion, employment and education priorities should complement GDP as the main indicators used when allocating EU funds and defining the next generation of plans funded by EU cohesion policy.

“If we want the next EU budget to be more efficient and results-orientated, we need better criteria to assess the needs of territories and to measure strategic progress,” said rapporteur Catiuscia Marini, chair of the Party of European Socialists in the committee.

Europe’s local and regional leaders also called for investments rather than cuts to education and renewed education policy which promotes social inclusion, innovation and excellence.

Did you enjoy this article?

Related articles

Have your say


CIPFA latest

Most popular

Most commented

Events & webinars