Covid-19 and cohesion policy: an effective response with current regulations?

Written By Alessandro Valenza
Publishing 24 April 2020

We all know that the post-emergency Coronavirus ‘restart’ phase must involve major public investment. For the territories, these investments will have to be multi-sectoral and granular to minimise distribution asymmetries and socio-economic gaps. From this point of view, cohesion policy appears to be the most suitable instrument to reach deep into all types of regions and cities while maintaining a high level of accountability and effectiveness.
Cohesion policy is based on programming cycles. At the moment we are on the threshold of the transition between 2014-2020 and 2021-2027. Normally, new programmes should be drawn up at this stage. Given the extreme circumstances, our proposal is to extend the 2014-2020 programming beyond its natural expiry date by refinancing it partly with resources allocated to the first years of 2021-2027.
An extension of the current 2014-2020 programming for at least one year, refinanced with new resources, would enable accelerated investments and give oxygen to priorities that would be penalized by a reallocation of resources to deal with the emergency. The benefits would be greater than those from immediately implementing the regulations planned for 2021-2027.
To go deeper into these points and understand how the current programming framework already anticipates Innovative measures of simplification and the ‘green’ approach in the 2021-2027 Regulations, you can read our article.