EU regional policy is an investment policy aimed at reducing economic, social and territorial disparities in the EU and promoting cohesion, growth and employment. Its investments of EUR 351.8 billion allocated for 2014-2020 are used to implement the Europe 2020 Strategy. Solidarity is a fundamental principle of the EU, and regional policy puts it into practice, particularly in regions which are lagging behind, which suffer from severe demographic handicaps or which are geographically less favoured, such as islands and cross-border and mountain regions. Cohesion and regional policy also covers the outermost regions and urban areas.
The EESC and regional and urban policy
The EESC supports the EU's regional policy efforts to reinforce solidarity and promote development. Its opinions have always emphasised the policy's active role in strengthening cohesion among the different regions of the EU. The EESC is an advocate of the partnership principle and helps ensure that it is put into practice. Beyond its opinions, the EESC, through its members, is proactive in discussions and in supporting civil society activities. There is also a keen interest in reinforcing territorial cooperation which reaches beyond administrative borders and addresses the real needs at local level (such as in macro-regional and functional urban areas). The EESC has actively supported and appealed for European initiatives in favour of the development and the integration of urban areas across the European Union.