The pandemic has tested EU's economic and social structures
In 2023, GDP per head will be 2.6% higher in less developed regions due to support from cohesion policy in 2014–2020.
The Commission published the 8th Cohesion Report presenting a first picture of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic at the regional level. It also shows both positive and negative trends in EU regions, cities and rural areas.
The Report assesses economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU.
The Report’s preliminary findings reveal that the pandemic has tested Europe's health care systems, and it has tested Europe's economic and social structures — and exposed sharp regional differences in all of them. The restrictions on movement of people and goods have led to a sharp recession in some regions.
Closing national borders has affected border regions disproportionately. In short, new territorial and social disparities have emerged. Beyond the impact of the pandemic, this Report’s rich analysis reveals a variety of trends in territorial cohesion within the Union — some trends are positive, but some are cause for concern.
The majority of less developed regions continue to catch up, but many transition regions are falling behind.
Reducing regional employment disparities requires more employment
growth and a reduction of the gender gap. In less developed regions, the
gender employment gap is almost twice that in more developed regions.
The number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion has fallen by 17 million between 2012 and 2019, mostly due to the decline of the number of people in severe material deprivation in eastern Member States.
the EU 2030 target of reducing the number of people at risk of poverty or
social exclusion by at least 15 million requires maintaining the current rate of
poverty reduction over the next decade. The pandemic, however, increased the
number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 5 million in 2020.
Economic modelling indicates that in 2023, GDP per head will be 2.6%
higher in less developed regions due to support from cohesion policy in
2014–2020. This model also shows that the gap between GDP per head in
regions representing top and bottom deciles will fall by 3.5%.
Cohesion policy responded quickly to the COVID-19 crisis by mobilising additional funding, making spending on the crisis response eligible and allowing higher co-financing rates. This helped Member States and regions respond to the crisis. However, cohesion policy should now return to its core mission of reducing regional disparities and promoting long-term regional development.