Cohesion Policy inherent challenge lies in fulfilling, and possibly anticipating, the development needs of territories in order to create valuable structural conditions to improve the quality of life of citizens.

To such end, the Territorial Cohesion Agency developed a working method relying on constant dialogue with territories, within a centre-periphery interaction based on a virtuous cycle of co-designing, setting, ongoing verification and reshaping of objectives. Whereby deemed necessary, the Agency may activate spending acceleration measures and establish ad-hoc task forces to support programmes showing implementation delays.

Accompanying, monitoring and verification measures are carried out by the Agency to promptly respond to any critical issues, and identify, promote and support qualified and coherent planning.

The Territorial Cohesion Agency operates to ensure that the objectives and aims pursued by the programmes financed with European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds match citizens and enterprises’ lives and capabilities. As such, all national or regional programmes or plans, territorial pacts, and/or smart specialisation policies are consistent with fair and sustainable development macro-objectives identified both by the Europe 2020 Strategy (EU programme for growth and employment for the current decade) and by the UN Agenda 2030, outlined in its 17 SDGs.

Major attention is paid to rural areas, and regions experiencing industrial transition and/or suffering from serious and permanent natural or demographic handicaps. The ad-hoc strategic measures undertaken include: the National Strategy for “Inner Areas, Development Pacts, and the National Smart Specialisation Strategy.

In line with the 2014-2020 programming, the Agency ensures a systemic vision of all the funds. As such, the ESF (European Social Fund), the ERDF (European Fund for Regional Development), and the EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) should all be read with a view to complementarity rather than as the mere sum of interventions implemented within the same regions. This means breaking the silos of sectoral policies to see the whole set of interventions and focus on the final objectives pursued and the territories addressed, rather than merely concentrate on the tools employed.