The urban and regional Dimension of the Crisis – Eighth progress report on economic, social and territorial cohesion Report from the Commission
The eighth progress report on economic, social and territorial cohesion highlights the regional and urban impact of the crisis.
This report was adopted during the final days of the negotiations on cohesion policy period 2014 to 2020. This new period of Cohesion policy will start amidst the wreckage of the worst recession in the last fifty years, while some regions and countries continue to face a shrinking economy even in 2014.
Between 2008 and 2012, unemployment increased in four out of five regions in the EU. In addition, GDP shrank in two out of three regions between 2007 and 2010. This crisis has a widespread effect including both more and less developed regions. As a result, the disparities between EU regions have started to grow again after a long period of convergence. Most capital metro regions have managed to withstand the crisis better than the other metro regions. Now the challenge is to ensure that all regions return to a positive growth path.
As the crisis drags on, the impact on poverty and exclusion has started to emerge. The number of people at-risk-of-poverty and-exclusion has grown significantly since the start of the crisis. In particular, the number of people living in a household with a very low work intensity increased by more than 4 million between 2008 and 2011. Between 2008 and 2011, the at-riskof- poverty-and-exclusion increased twice as much in cities than in other areas. This was especially noticeable in the EU-15, where the poverty and exclusion rates were already higher in cities before the crisis.
The next round of cohesion policy programmes should ensure that their investments in contribute most to overcoming the impact of the crisis on our regions and cities.
Maximising the impact requires both the right institutional and economic context and selecting the best projects. That is why the Commission wants to invest more in improving administrative capacity and has linked Cohesion Policy to the broader EU economic governance to improve the conditions for growth. The best projects depend on the region or city, but they will often include measures to boost innovation, education, training, entrepreneurship and access to finance.