STRUCTURAL FUNDS: FINAL STRAIGHT FOR DRAWING UP NEW RULES.

PositionEuropean Structural Fund

In early 2011, the focus of cohesion policy will be on preparing revision of European Structural Fund regulations. Legislative proposals are set to be presented by the end of the first half of 2011, following on from the proposal on the EU's next financial framework. They will organise the rules of the game for the next Structural Fund programming period: the categories of regions that will receive aid, priorities, practical terms, types of projects and so on. All EU regions eagerly await the texts, needless to say: with funding of 347 billion for 2007-2013, cohesion policy is the EU's biggest budget heading.

A foretaste of what will be proposed is outlined in the political conclusions that accompanied the Fifth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion' presented by the European Commission in November 2010. A public consultation is running until the end of January and the first results will be discussed at the Fifth Cohesion Forum, on 31 January-1 February in Brussels. This is obviously an important event for the cohesion policy stakeholders who wish to give their views on the forthcoming reform. The Hungarian EU Presidency plans to try to have formal conclusions on the Fifth cohesion report' adopted at the General Affairs Council in February.

The European Parliament will also get to work on this document, giving an indication of MEPs' future position on the draft regulations. This...

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