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Sixth Annual Report on the Structural Funds - 1994

The Commission has recently adopted the Sixth Annual Report on the Structural Funds covering activities in 1994, the first year of the new programming period (1994-1999). This new period is marked by an increased emphasis on the twin goals of economic and social cohesion, on t...
The Commission has recently adopted the Sixth Annual Report on the Structural Funds covering activities in 1994, the first year of the new programming period (1994-1999). This new period is marked by an increased emphasis on the twin goals of economic and social cohesion, on the one hand, and job creation on the other. The report gives an overview of 1994 activities by type of assistance, by region and by country.

Commenting on the report, Mrs. Monika Wulf-Mathies, Commissioner responsible for regional policy and cohesion, stressed the importance of the Structural Funds in the creation of employment: "The Structural Funds are employment policy personified. As the report shows, beginning in 1994, the Structural Funds have increasingly been integrated into the EU's general strategy for creating jobs, stimulating growth and improving competitivity."

The main conclusions of the report are outlined below:

- The concentration of resources to combat unemployment and stimulate growth in the most disadvantaged areas is increasing. Almost 80% of the resources of the Structural Funds (ECU 149,818 million for the period 1994-1999) will be concentrated on the regions lagging behind in their development (Objective 1 regions) and on those undergoing industrial restructuration. Measures implemented under the Structural Funds are expected to create approximately 1.3 million jobs in these regions by 1999;

- Combating unemployment is one of the main assistance priorities and is the subject of a broad range of schemes and programmes based on a dual approach:
. Maintaining and developing the economic base in a region through investment aid (47% of resources under Objective 1, 45% under Objective 2);
. Preventing unemployment by training/retraining of workers (almost 29% of the total funding in the Community Support Frameworks);

- The competitiveness of regions and of businesses is another priority of the Structural Funds. Operations are being concentrated on small and medium-sized businesses (10% of resources under Objective 1 and 17% under Objective 2) and on R&D in both rural (1%) and industrial areas (10%) and in areas lagging behind in their development (4%);

- The protection and improvement of the environment will benefit from a more constraining regulatory framework, an approach based on preventing pollution and degradation, and significantly more financial resources than during the previous programming period (ECU 9 billion).
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