EU Press Release

Commission proposes one programming tool for all structural funds

Brussels, 14 March 2012 – Following the Cohesion Policy proposals of 6th October, and in order to help Member States with their preparations for the next programming period the Commission has today presented the “Common Strategic Framework” (CSF). It is intended to help in setting clear investment priorities for the next financial planning period from 2014 until 2020 in Member States and their regions. It will enable a far better combining of various funds to maximise the impact of EU investments. National and regional authorities will use this framework as the basis for drafting their ‘Partnership Contracts’ with the Commission, committing themselves to meeting Europe’s growth and jobs targets for 2020.

Today’s overview elaborates on the Framework’s investment priorities and key actions for programmes which will be supported, not only through the Cohesion and Structural Funds,1 but also through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, stated: “The Commission is committed to increasing the coherence between our policy goals and investment on the ground, and setting out how the Funds can work together with the common goal of achieving smart and sustainable growth for all of Europe’s citizens”.

Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: “The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund fits well into this story. It will allow us to give a real boost towards environmental, social and economic sustainability for our coastal areas. Its measures will give the fisheries reform a real footing towards a healthy, profitable and strong sector who takes good care of the interests of environmentally stable fish stocks and an increased consumer demand for fish.”

Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Policy, Dacian Cioloș, stated: “Our proposals are seeking a better coordination of measures, especially in the programming stage, so that projects are more efficient – complementing each other where possible, and seeking to avoid overlaps where not necessary – and help to achieve the full potential of rural areas.”

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Lázsló Andor, stated “I want Member States to get more out of the European social fund as a social investment tool. This also means improving coherence with other funds and the common strategic framework is what will help Member States do just that”.

The CSF will be adopted in final form only once the legislative package on Cohesion Policy Funds for the next Multiannual Financial Framework proposed on 6th October 2011 has been agreed by the European Parliament and the Council.

 More information:

How will the CSF differ from the current strategic guidelines?

  • Stronger alignment with Europe 2020, our strategy for growth and jobs, and with EU Economic Governance
  • Replaces the current separate sets of strategic guidelines for cohesion policy, rural development policy and fisheries and maritime policy and provide a single source of guidance for all five future Funds, (ERDF, ESF, Cohesion Fund, EAFRD and EMFF), strengthening the integration of EU policies and ensuring greater impact for citizens and businesses on the ground.

What will be in the CSF?

  • Key actions for each thematic objective and Fund to focus investment on growth‑enhancing sectors, in accordance with Europe 2020 and complementary to other EU initiatives
  • A five-step plan for developing Partnership Contracts to be signed with the European Commission and programmes tailor‑made to specific territorial characteristics
  • Multi-Fund programmes to better coordinate and combine the Funds; avoiding duplication and reducing administrative costs and burden
  • Priority areas for action through territorial cooperation between and among regions and Member States, where such cooperation has a particular added value
  • Coherence with economic governance, including the Annual Growth Survey and the Euro+ Pact, through the prioritisation of growth-enhancing spending and compliance with the objectives of the budgetary consolidation strategy as set out in the country‑specific recommendations.
  • The CSF upholds the horizontal principles of equality between men and women, non-discrimination, and sustainable development.

Next steps:

EU institutions are invited to submit their views on the overview of the CSF. The Framework will be adopted within three months of the adoption of the legislative package on Cohesion Policy Funds for the next Multiannual Financial Framework proposed on 6th October 2011.

Overview of the Common Strategic Framework

Contacts :

Ton Van Lierop (+32 2 296 65 65)

Cristina Arigho (+32 2 298 53 99)

Oliver Drewes (+32 2 299 24 21)

Roger Waite (+32 2 296 14 04)