The Challenges and Solutions for Middle-Income Regions within the EU Cohesion Policy beyond 2020

The last global financial crisis and its aftermath exposed many European regions and cities to many unsustainable growth models. Globalisation has a highly differentiated impact on EU regions.

Some are well positioned to take advantage of the new opportunities it offers, others are hit by job losses, stagnating wages and shrinking market shares due to low-cost competitors moving into more technological advanced sectors. Industrial transition, often in richer Member States and mid-income regions, brings economic and social challenges, including promoting innovation and creating SMEs in new, growing sectors and providing workers with new skills.

The European Union places considerable emphasis on cohesion policy, with it providing almost one third of the EU budget with the objective of reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the backwardness of the least favoured regions (Art.174 TFEU). However, over the last years several of the regions with a GDP per capita close to the EU average seem to have remained in a ‘mid-income trap’.

This event aims to provide a new impetus to the ongoing discussion on the future of cohesion policy beyond 2020 based on the goals achieved so far and the challenges to be faced by a transitional category of mid-income regions with a GDP per capita between 75% and 100% of EU-27 average.

This is an event co-organised by the European Committee of the Regions in close cooperation with the regional government of Wallonia and within the framework of the political campaign “Cohesion Alliance” to defend a strong regional policy within the new multiannual financial framework beyond 2020.