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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”).  

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.

Research and innovation, infrastructure related to transport, energy and digital, as well as creating a dynamic interaction between companies of all sizes 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 MFF must concentrate efforts on improving EU competitiveness. The EU cohesion policy is a very important tool to achieve this, and we must take the new post-2020 cycle as an opportunity to ensure we simplify its functioning in order to boost its efficiency and delivery. Cohesion policy must be a key part of an EU investment policy and be given adequate resources to support a more cohesive Europe, which is a basic condition for a proper functioning of the EU, and the Euro-area in particular.


James Watson

+32 2 237 65 15
Last updated: 15 January 2019