10 Dec 2020   |   News

EU finalises €234B regional funds deal

A new instrument in the EU’s largest funding programme will enable member states to use regional funds to co-invest in research and innovation

Map of Europe

EU member states and the European Parliament Tuesday night reached an agreement on the final details of the €234 billion (in 2018 prices) EU regional and cohesion funds that will include a new programme for cross-border innovation projects.

Starting in 2021, member states will be able to use EU’s regional funds to finance interregional research and innovation projects under a new scheme aimed at promoting innovation.

The goal of the €970 million scheme is to mobilise public and private investment to accelerate innovation, encourage close-to-market investments, and strengthen links between EU and regional funding instruments.

The commission’s proposal set out two strands of action under the new scheme. One will focus on regions with well-developed innovation ecosystems, helping them identify weak links and market failures in their value chains. Once these are identified, funds will be channelled to projects working on filling the gaps.  The second strand will target less developed regions and focus on strengthening innovation ecosystems and unlocking their potential.

EU’s regional and cohesion funds is the EU’s biggest funding scheme enabling green, digital, and social investments in less developed European regions.

Across the programme, including the new innovation scheme, at least 30 per cent of the funds will go to Green Deal priorities while digital investments will receive special focus.

The text on the agreement will be finalised in the first months of 2021, under the upcoming Portuguese presidency.

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