The EESC expresses concern that despite some progress, regional disparities persist in terms of economic and social development.
There is a need to focus the European economy more on activities based on know-how, innovation and new information and communication technologies, in order to make it more competitive, increase employment and improve quality of life.
The EESC welcomes the new architecture that has been devised for EU cohesion policy after 2006 and the fact that the number of financial instruments available for cohesion policy should be limited and that both the objectives and the associated financial instruments should be limited.
The EESC once again emphasises the need to make the involvement of the socio-economic partners on the monitoring committees mandatory, and must be strengthened by giving them the right to vote.
Lastly, the EESC welcomes the Commission's intention, within the convergence objective, to set up a specific compensation mechanism covering all the handicaps of the outermost regions, as well as regions with permanent structural handicaps.