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Report on progress in cohesion in EU

In November 1996, the European Commission adopted the first report on cohesion, as required by the Maastricht Treaty. This report surveys past and present trends in the field of economic and social cohesion, as well as the policies pursued by both Member States and the Communi...
In November 1996, the European Commission adopted the first report on cohesion, as required by the Maastricht Treaty. This report surveys past and present trends in the field of economic and social cohesion, as well as the policies pursued by both Member States and the Community to reduce disparities in economic and social development.

The report finds that clear progress has been made, with an increase in per capita incomes in the least prosperous EU Member States (Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece) from 66% to 74% of the Community average between 1985 and 1995. However, despite the creation of seven million jobs in that period, unemployment still remains the most serious problem in the EU, with wide disparities both between Member States, and between their regions.

As well as the Structural Funds whose objective is to reduce the disparities between regions of the EU, the report finds that a number of other Community policies can also have an input into cohesion, and that these effects need to be taken into account in their future development. These policies include:

- Social policy;
- Single market;
- Common agricultural policy (CAP);
- Research and development;
- Trans-European networks (TENs);
- Competition policy.

The report finds that the Structural Funds have brought additional growth of 0.5% per year to the four cohesion countries. The Structural Funds have also assisted in the conversion of declining industrial areas in other Member States. According to the report, around 40% of the assistance given to the least prosperous Member States returns to the richer countries through purchasing of plant, machinery and know-how.

In conclusion, the report states that the cohesion policy should be enhanced, by gearing it towards results, simpler procedures and more efficient financial engineering. In addition, it should be adjusted to meet the priority needs of the Union's citizens, by concentrating on job creation, research and technological development, environmental protection and equal opportunities.
DE FR

Related information

Countries (4)

  • Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal
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