The greater part of the Cohesion Policy budget of 347 billion will be invested in key Lisbon Strategy priorities, such as the knowledge economy, research and development and innovation, announces a communication presented by the European Commission on 12 December. The announcement prompted Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner to comment that "Cohesion Policy is the main means for delivering the Lisbon agenda for growth and jobs". This marks a "reorientation" from earlier programming periods.


In figures, 65% of the funds earmarked for areas covered by the Convergence' objective will be invested in projects linked to Lisbon priorities, along with 82% of funds for areas covered by the Regional competitiveness and employment' objective. For the EU15, this proportion is 74% for convergence and 83% for competitiveness. In the 12 newest member states, the figures are more modest - 59% of funds will go to Lisbon projects - but logical, considering the needs for investments in basic infrastructure (these areas are not obliged to allocate funds to Lisbon projects, as are the 15 older member states).


As the Commission notes, the "real work is just beginning," and it will be important to ensure that resources are not redirected in the coming years to lower priorities. In...

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