The CPMR assessment shows that the convergence objective kitty is going down as the negotiations on the financial perspective progress: the latest proposals have resulted in a 15% cut in the level of aid for the regions of the 15-member EU and 6% for the enlargement regions. However, the competitiveness and employment objective is coming off worse in the talks, dropping to under euro 18 per habitant. And the first one to suffer could well be the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The CRPM stressed how difficult it is to see the wood for the trees, because of the myriad exceptions and concessions of all shapes and sizes that are quite illogical. But there are some constants:

- Ultraperipheral regions and phasing-out territories (regions not covered by the Structural Funds' Objective 1 because their per capita GDP is more than 75% of the Community average as a result of growing comparatively more wealthy subsequent to enlargement) and phasing in territories (regions that leave the Objective 1 category naturally) are suffering from the sharpest reductions: they would, on average, lose 15% to 40% of their 2000-2006 budget allocation.

- Rich and competitive regions have had a considerable increase in their budgets:

A comparison between the amounts of the current programming period and those resulting from a strict application of the criteria of the latest negotiating box (Presidency's compromise) shows that this would lead to a considerable increase in the regional budgets of the most competitive regions, from about euro 2 to 10 per capita at the moment, to a little over euro 17 per capita in 2007-2013. On the other hand, funds for the most peripheral regions would be reduced by half or even by much more in certain cases. The reason for...

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