The Recovery and Resilience Facility and cohesion policy: towards cohesion policy 2.0

EESC opinion: The Recovery and Resilience Facility and cohesion policy: towards cohesion policy 2.0

Key points


  • stresses that the fundamental principle of cohesion policy, according to which "no one should be left behind", remains sound and valid, and that civil society partners are ready to continue working towards it by means of a solid EU investment policy. The principle of the policy should be maintained, despite its imperfections;
  • wishes to stress that inequality of opportunity can have a detrimental effect on long-term growth and competitiveness at regional, national and EU level. Cohesion policy therefore needs to be more diversified and flexible in order to be able to pay more attention to people;
  • believes that the range of instruments and approaches should be broadened, modernised or revised to build a strong, effective, flexible and renewed cohesion policy, focusing more on capacity, interregional links, effectiveness of results and opportunities for beneficiaries;
  • considers that the use of funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is fully compatible with the implementation of the future cohesion policy and that investments and programmes already launched under the RRF are not put on hold;
  • thinks that particular attention should be paid to categories of people with lower employment rates (women, young people, immigrants, those with lower levels of education), for whom specific training, reskilling and support programmes are needed on the ground;
  • is of the opinion to continue protecting SMEs and their sustainability and at the same time to find ways of financing the large companies which is an important factor for convergence, especially as regards strategic technologies through the new STEP (Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform);
  • highlights the importance of creating new types of economic prospects for less developed, peripheral, sparsely populated rural areas, EU islands and outermost regions. It is also necessary to address the gaps between rural areas, urban areas and city centres;
  • believes that diversification and specialisation should be further differentiated in terms of financial support, support arrangements, budget management, objectives and investment and considers particularly important to call on the EU Member States and regions to involve the social partners and other civil society organisations as broadly and genuinely as possible;
  • is convinced that cohesion policy should remain the EU's key investment policy to support European regional policy on adapting to climate goals, with the aim of creating a carbon-neutral society and achieving transition;
  • believes that cohesion policy needs to strengthen digital investments in existing programmes aimed at bridging the digital divide, as the digital transition entails a risk of creating social and territorial gaps and considers that cohesion policy must ensure that the benefits of digitalisation are distributed in an effective and equitable manner;
  • considers it essential to streamline cohesion policy for beneficiaries through simplification and flexibility in the implementation of the funds, which should be used to achieve their objectives.