Go back

Ambassadors back shift of EU regional funds to Covid-19

Image: Images Money [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Move paves way for reallocation of up to €60 billion, potentially including money for research

EU ambassadors have backed a proposal from the European Commission, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to lift restrictions on how the bloc’s regional cohesion funding can be spent.

If approved by the European Parliament and then by national ministers, EU member states will be able to reallocate all of their remaining cohesion funding for 2020—which the Commission estimates at €50-60 billion—to tackling the disease.

Ordinarily, about 30 per cent of cohesion funding is spent on innovation, and 10-20 per cent on R&D, according to the Commission. A spokesperson for the Council of the EU told Research Professional News earlier this month that “most member states wanted these legislative changes to help them tackle the consequences of the pandemic”.

Under the proposal, governments would be freed up to redirect funding to their Covid-19 responses, such as by spending development money in wealthier regions. And whereas states usually have to combine EU cohesion funds with national money, the proposal includes provisions for 100 per cent EU financing.