Not everybody is getting behind the European Commission's opinion that it would be appropriate to reinforce the priorities linked to the Lisbon Strategy in the EU's Cohesion Policy. The Economic and Social Committee (ESC) adopted an opinion on the fourth report on social and economic cohesion on 12 December in Brussels, which considers that the Cohesion Policy should be more linked to the EU's sustainable development strategy. As Olivier Derruine, rapporteur, explained to Europolitics, "the Committee is distancing itself from the Commission's intentions [in favour of Lisbon priorities] because we believe, Lisbon leads to a long-term impasse in terms of a harmonious development of the European space. In effect, Lisbon reinforces the traditional economic hub, but also the supremacy of capitals over the other regions". Linking regional policy more to the sustainable development strategy would allow, on the other hand, to better distribute wealth, employment and activity across the whole of Europe "by making decentralised development poles emerge".

The ESC's opinion must nourish the consultation, launched by the Commission in September this year, on the future of Cohesion Policy (open until 31 January 2008). It asks that gross domestic product is not the only indicator taken into consideration to determine regions' eligibility for European Structural Funds: the rate of employment, the rate of unemployment, an indicator reflecting...

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