A new study by Stefan Kah, Neli Georgieva and Liliana Fonseca of EPRC, carried out for the REGI Committee of the European Parliament, looks at the role of EU Cohesion Policy in rural areas.
The study analyses the challenges of these areas and discusses the extent and thematic orientation of rural Cohesion Policy funding. The study then presents the relationship between Cohesion Policy and CAP, before giving an overview of the role of Cohesion Policy for healthcare. It also reflects on the implications of Cohesion Policy proposals post-2020 for rural areas, before providing final conclusions and recommendations for a long-term policy vision.
The key findings of the study are:
- Rural areas face social, structural and geographical challenges, but possess valuable inherent environmental, cultural and social assets.
- Cohesion Policy provides a long-term and dependable financial framework for rural areas, but urban areas have been allocated over three times as much Cohesion Policy funding as rural territories (€165.5 billion compared to €45.6 billion).
- Rural areas see the implementation of a lot of infrastructure projects, while in urban areas there are more projects in the areas of low-carbon economy and research and innovation.
- Policy coherence of Cohesion Policy with the EU’s rural development policy – an important source of funding in many Member States – is challenging.
- Cohesion Policy plays an important role in funding healthcare infrastructure and services, but the amount going to rural areas is very limited. The role of Cohesion Policy funding as part of the COVID-19 response in rural is as yet unclear.
- Looking at CP post-2020, the future Policy Objectives allow addressing rural challenges, but thematic concentration requirements and territorial trends could result in rural areas being disadvantaged.
The full study and its executive summary are available HERE