Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The European Commission grants €18.4 billion to France's cohesion policy

Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, June 7th 2022 à 10:25 | Read 405 times

France will benefit from a European envelope of €18.4 billion for its cohesion policy (photo: F.Dubessy)
France will benefit from a European envelope of €18.4 billion for its cohesion policy (photo: F.Dubessy)
FRANCE. On Thursday 2 June 2022, the European Commission adopted a partnership agreement with France setting out the Member State's strategy for investment under the cohesion policy for the period 2021-2027. It includes the financing of twenty-three programmes (4 national and 19 regional) plus eighteen INTERREG programmes (cross-border cooperation).

It grants Paris the sum of €18.4 billion. "The funds will help France to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, while supporting the European Union's main priorities such as the ecological and digital transition. They will also make it possible to improve the competitiveness of the French regions and to reduce territorial disparities between rural and urban areas, particularly in terms of access to health care and social services," states a European Commission press release.

More specifically, France will invest €3.5 billion under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to boost the competitiveness of its regions, in particular by supporting the digitalisation of SMEs.

2.8 billion will be used to support the Green Pact for Europe and thus promote the preservation of biodiversity, the development of a circular and sustainable economy and environmentally friendly transport.

620 million for the outermost regions

With an allocation of €1bn for France, the new European instrument called the Just Transition Fund (FTJ) will support ten French territories in six regions: Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est, Normandie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Pays-de-la-Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

The FTJ is intended to support them in "dealing with the impact of the energy transition and diversifying their economic activities currently based on carbon-intensive industries", as the European Commission states. On the other hand, €200 million will go to skills development and professional transitions to help the workers and jobseekers concerned to seize new employment opportunities.

The outermost regions have not been forgotten, with €620 million invested in improving connectivity and transport infrastructure (ports and airports) in Mayotte, Réunion, Saint-Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana.

Through the European Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, €567 million will be devoted to the ecological transition of these sectors. "This funding will help to adapt seafood and aquaculture products to consumer expectations for sustainable food choices, support small-scale coastal fisheries, improve the resilience of the sectors and stimulate the adoption of innovative solutions to current challenges," says the European Commission.

"This partnership agreement will create favourable conditions for the harmonious development of maritime and coastal activities and will contribute to the development of a sustainable blue economy both in mainland France and in its outermost regions. It will support a sustainable and resilient transition of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and strengthen the protection of the marine environment and biodiversity. It will play a crucial role in supporting coastal communities and in decarbonising our economy," said Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

Priority to fighting inequalities and reducing disparities between territories

Finally, the largest envelope is provided by the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) with a sum of €6.7 billion. It will support policies to improve access to the labour market, including measures combining social and employment assistance, work experience, skills upgrading and retraining, quality education and vocational training, and career guidance.

"The European Social Fund plus will help France fund training programmes, to ensure that everyone has the skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The ESF+ will also provide crucial support for people who are struggling to make ends meet and who need extra help," said Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights.

The fight against poverty and social exclusion will involve food and material assistance, including for children. Territorial disparities in access to health care, education and social services will also be taken into account, particularly in the outermost regions.

"The partnership agreement with France expresses our strategic commitment to boosting growth and moving towards a more inclusive, sustainable and digital path. The €18.4 billion provided by the cohesion policy funds will be devoted to combating inequalities and reducing disparities between territories", commented Elisa Ferreira. For the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, "this funding will unlock the potential of each region to promote innovation, create jobs and benefit from the green and digital transition. Special attention will be given to the outermost regions to develop their transport, infrastructure and social sectors, in line with the new strategy for the outermost regions."

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