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EU budget and regional policy

The multiannual financial framework (MFF) is a seven-year spending plan that translates the EU priorities into financial terms. For each annual EU budgetary exercise, it limits expenditure over a fixed period and defines the maximum amounts available for each major category of spending. It also sets up how the budget is financed (so called “own resources”). The current MFF covers the period from 2014 to 2020 and provides a clear picture regarding the spending priorities of the EU. 

EU regional policy absorbs around a third of the EU budget for a total of €315bn over the current period 2014-2020. With companies as a beneficiary of EU structural funds, BusinessEurope is closely involved in development of this policy.

Areas such as research and innovation, trans-European networks, and SMEs and mid-cap companies are key for Europe’s competitiveness. While the amounts devoted to these areas have increased compared to previous budgets, the EU budget still fails to give the necessary clear signal that Europe is focused on the future. The review of the MFF that will take place in 2016 provides an opportunity to redirect some funding and to make a better and smarter use of the EU budget.

Regarding structural funds, focus should be on priority areas with a clear impact on growth and jobs, and be subject to a results-oriented approach, with independent evaluations and effective monitoring. Regional development programmes should be clearly aligned with national reform programmes and contribute to addressing structural weaknesses and meeting Europe 2020 objectives. It is however important that the EU regional cohesion policy maximises its impact on local development and job creation by supporting investment depending solely on the quality and impact of funded investment, irrespective of the size of the company carrying it out. 


Position papers Date
Multi-annual financial framework (MFF) post-2020 proposals - BusinessEurope views 28/09/2018
Declaration of European SME Envoys and business organisations on the visibility of European support for SMEs in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 13/04/2018
European social partners statement on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) 21/03/2018
Public consultation on EU funds - BusinessEurope reply 02/03/2018
Views on the EU multi-annual financial framework (MFF) post-2020 08/01/2018
EU cohesion policy: building an investment policy for a more cohesive Europe 09/06/2017
Business views on the future of cohesion policy 29/02/2012
Multiannual financial framework 2014-2020: positive development but more radical restructuring required to drive growth 12/10/2011
Business principles for EU cohesion policy 12/10/2011
The future of the EU budget - A BusinessEurope position paper 14/03/2011
Business priorities for EU cohesion policy - BusinessEurope response to the consultation on the conclusions of the 5th economic, social and territorial cohesion report 31/01/2011
Press releases Date
EU’s post-2020 budget: Further increase research and innovation funding and reach swift agreement 02/05/2018
European social partners statement on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) 21/03/2018
EU Multiannual Financial Framework post-2020: ensure unity and swift agreement 08/01/2018
BusinessEurope welcomes end of EU budget squabbles but regrets lack of growth focus 08/02/2013
Multiannual financial framework: do the right thing, invest in growth and competitiveness 06/02/2013
Multiannual financial framework: need for a swift agreement 23/11/2012
Presidency’s proposal on the multi-annual financial framework could put growth and competitiveness at risk 31/10/2012
Multiannual financial framework: more radical restructuring required to drive growth 01/07/2011
Public letters Date
MFF post-2020 should boost spending on research, development and innovation - Letter from Emma Marcegaglia to Jean-Claude Juncker 26/04/2018
Proposed new "common provisions" regulation laying down common provisions on the structural funds and cohesion policy - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to Linas Linkevicius 15/10/2013
Political agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer, BusinessEurope Director General, to EP President Martin Schulz and MEPs 28/06/2013
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and large enterprises - Letter from Philippe de Buck to Commissioner Johannes Hahn 23/11/2012
An EU budget for growth: the next multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 - Letter from President Jürgen R. Thumann to Herman Van Rompuy 08/11/2012
Partnership principle in cohesion policy - Joint letter from BusinessEurope, CEEP, ETUC and UEAPME to Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Laszlo Andor 12/10/2012
Letter from Philippe de Buck to members of the Regional Development Committee ahead of their vote on the regulations concerning cohesion polkicy 2014-2020 02/07/2012
European Regional Development Fund - Letter from Philippe de Buck to Commissioner Johannes Hahn 27/09/2011
BusinessEurope supports EU project guarantees - Letter from Philippe de Buck to Marco Buti 02/05/2011
Speeches Date
Cohesion policy after 2014: enabling companies to stimulate growth? - Open Days 2012, BusinessEurope workshop - Introductory statement by Philippe de Buck 10/10/2012
SMEs and cohesion policy - Presentation by Milena Jaburkova at the European Parliament REGI Committee hearing 18/09/2012
Does the next generation of EU programmes meet the needs of SMEs? - Speaking points for Daniel Cloquet in the European Parliament SME Intergroup conference, panel 1: European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 11/04/2012
The role of European investments for companies and employment in the future financial perspectives - Speaking points for Philippe de Buck at the EESC conference (closing session) 12/12/2011
Breaking the taboo: time for smart spending of EU funds - BusinessEurope workshop in the Open Days 2011 - Concluding remarks by Philippe de Buck 12/10/2011
European Parliament conference on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund - Speaking notes for Maxime Cerutti 02/03/2011
Reports and studies Date
Unite and innovate! European clusters for recovery 07/10/2009


Joana Valente

Senior Adviser and strategy coordinator
+32 2 237 65 20
Last updated: 5 July 2016