Correspondent's Choice

This article about the future of EU cohesion policy was published by EurActiv on 24th August 2010.

The future of the EU’s cohesion policy – which is currently being discussed in Brussels – is likely to divide member states, as some are said to be pushing for the re-nationalisation of European pro-employment funding while others are fighting for the status quo to be maintained in years to come.

Governments are primarily divided over the future of the European Social Fund (ESF), which distributes EU money across the bloc to boost European employment.

Amid an ongoing economic crisis and with unemployment rates at a peak in recent years, some of the fund’s biggest financial backers, particularly the big member states, are said to be proposing a sort of re-nationalisation of these resources for the period covering the next EU financial framework, from 2014 to 2020.

The idea has been circulating in EU circles in recent months, although no concrete proposals have been tabled.

The possibility of reviewing such a key financial resource has triggered strong criticism from Eastern European member states, which are among the main beneficiaries of the funds.

Last week, the leaders of the four Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) sent a letter to the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. They called for the ESF to remain within the scope of EU cohesion policy, reported EurActiv Germany.

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