Commissioner Hahn highlights the "intermediate" regions are necessary for the cohesion policy

Commissioner on Regional Policy Johannes Hahn stated in a discussion held on 21 June in the Regional Development Committee that “intermediate” regions, i.e. regions with a GDP of 75% to 90% of the EU average are on an equal footing. Mr Hahn also presented the legislative package on cohesion policy for 2014-2020.

Commissioner Hahn defended a provisional intermediate category, which will be "intermediate" regions i.e. with a GDP of between 75% and 90% of the EU average. These regions should all get the same type of support, whether they are growing wealthier and hence are being phased out of the convergence (objective 2) group, or poorer. According to Mr Hahn, no country or region will lose out, but cohesion policy would gain in clarity. He added that it would be necessary to await the budgetary proposal at the end of June to be able to put figures on this policy option. The intermediate regions was already proposed by local and regional leaders to the Commission. The Commission is currently assuming that 64 to 68 regions will come under the convergence objective in 2014-2020 and 51 regions will come under the new intermediate category.

In addition, the Commissioner said to MEPs that an infrastructure fund is very likely to be created, but its funding would not come from regional policy. Allocation decisions would nevertheless be taken in close collaboration with his department, notably for trans-European transport (TEN-T) projects.

On the legislative package, the Commission will propose it at the end of September. Mr Hahn underlined that will include a general regulation and specific rules for each fund and for territorial co-operation. At the end of 2011, the Commission will follow up with the common strategic framework for all the structural funds.