Jobs and research have moved up the priority list for the EU’s next six years’ Cohesion Policy. Brussels calls it a “radical shift… earmarking significant investment for competitiveness and growth in line with the Lisbon Strategy”. Funding “to improve the quality of the environment” was assigned the lion’s share for the 2007-2013 cycle. Topping 347 billion euros overall, the Cohesion spending breakdown is as follows: 105 billion towards the environment, 86 billion for research, 27 billion on small and medium-sized companies, 26 billion to education, 19 billion into employment schemes and 10 billion to counter poverty. The EU’s Commissioner for Employment, Vladimir Spidla, talked about how countries have redirected attention towards removing social barriers: “For example, in Wales there is a project for single mothers. Having children keeps them out of the labour market. This project gives a third of them a chance to find a steady job.” In presenting the results of negotiations with the EU member states, which include the participation of Regional Policy officials, Spidla said that one in nine people out of work finds a job with EU support.
EU Cohesion Policy shifts radically