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ESC opinion on the Structural Funds

The Economic and Social Committee of the European Union has published the text of its opinion on two commission reports on the Structural Funds: "The sixth annual report on the Structural Funds 1994" (COM(95)583); and "The new regional programmes under Objectives 1 and 2 of th...
The Economic and Social Committee of the European Union has published the text of its opinion on two commission reports on the Structural Funds: "The sixth annual report on the Structural Funds 1994" (COM(95)583); and "The new regional programmes under Objectives 1 and 2 of the structural policies" (COM(95) 111). These present a detailed review of the implementation of the Structural Funds in 1994, the first year of operation since their revision in 1993.

The Committee welcomes the developments in the operation of the Structural Funds outlined in these reports, particularly with regard to the prioritization of objectives and the simplification of application procedures. It stresses however, the need to ensure that delays in funding are decreased since such delays are particularly hard on SMEs. Other considerations which the ESC feels need to be taken more into account include: the possibility of Structural Funds projects conflicting with environmental aims; and the need to ensure that the service sector benefits from the Funds.

The Committee also calls for the economic and social partners to play a greater role in the development and implementation of regional plans.
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