Cohesion Policy is a unicum in the wide range of tools aimed at bridging development disparities across EU regions. Greeted in the Treaties as a common European asset and acknowledged in Article 119 of the Italian Constitution, Cohesion Policy is designed to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion, contributing to implementing the 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN Global Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030. Several national government levels participate in accomplishing such objective. Cohesion Policy addresses citizens and enterprises in their everyday life and essential needs, from work to safety, from environmental quality to mobility, from education to culture, from research to social inclusion. Cohesion Policy:

  • Is highly innovative
  • Contributes to Europe’s competitiveness in the world
  • Promotes development while reducing territorial disparities
  • Acknowledges relevance and priority to sustainability as indispensable for economic and social development
  • Pays great attention to the impacts deriving from the actions implemented, as well as to transparency and accountability
  • Applies an integrated strategy on all funds and instruments with a view to complementarity
  • Fuels new collaborative dialogue between central government and territorial communities.

Under direct supervision of the President of the Council of Ministers, Italy’s Territorial Cohesion Agency is entrusted with Cohesion Policy programming, coordination, overseeing and support. Established in 2014 (Article10 of Legislative Decree No. 101/2013), the Agency is key to improving EU funds management in Italy, as proven upon conclusion of 2007-2013 OPs implementation by achieving nearly-total spending of programmed resources. The Agency is not only a monitoring body on Cohesion Policy implementation; first and foremost, it is an ally of central and regional administrations and local authorities in implementing Cohesion Policy.

2014-2020 programming period

For the 2014-2020 period, Cohesion Policy is allocated one third of the resources in the overall budget of the European Union, equal to an investment of EUR 351.8 billion plus national contributions and other private investments, for an impact quantifiable at approx. EUR 450 billion. Eleven Thematic Objectives have been devised to support growth through 2014-2020, and namely:

  • Strengthen research, technological development and innovation
  • Enhance access to ICT, and improve quality and use thereof
  • Promote competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, the agricultural sector (EAFRD), and the fisheries and aquaculture sector (EMFF)
  • Support the transition to a low-carbon economy in all sectors
  • Promote climate change adaptation, prevention and risk management
  • Protect the environment and boost efficient use of resources
  • Encourage sustainable transport systems and remove bottlenecks within main network infrastructures
  • Stimulate employment and support worker mobility
  • Promote social inclusion and fight against poverty
  • Invest in skills, education and lifelong learning
  • Strengthen institutional capacity and promote efficient public administrations.